A recent study found that just using the phrase could increase your connection to the earth.

By Jenny Krane
Updated March 14, 2019

Ditching plastic straws, utilizing reusable grocery bags, and watching what you recycle are easy, eco-friendly adjustments you can make in your everyday life. Amazingly, science is also proving that your everyday language can have an effect on the environment. New studies are showing that the verbiage you read and use can make you more eco-friendly—and the reason behind it is simple.

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A recent study looked into how much people associate nature with women and female terminology and how that impacts their likeliness to be eco-friendly in their daily lives. There were three groups of participants, and each group was given a different version of the same article and picture of an environmental crisis. One group received a version that referenced nature as 'Mother Nature,' the second group's article called nature 'Father Nature,' and the control group had a version that attributed no gender to nature.

After reading the article, participants filled out a questionnaire that had them rank how often they would engage in pro-environmental behaviors like recycling, water conservation, and eco-friendly volunteering opportunities. The Mother Nature group was significantly more pro-environmental and reported feeling more connected to the earth than the Father Nature group and the control group.

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Although there’s no definitive source of the term 'Mother Nature,' researchers believe it came from many cultures’ view of nature as life-giving and nurturing—two characteristics commonly associated with women and femininity.

While we may not consciously decide that the earth should be referenced with female pronouns, there is a subconscious connection between the earth and personal traits. This is proved by the Mother Nature group, who may see nature like a person you'd see walking down the street. Those who personify nature may be more likely to respect it and consciously care for it than those who don't.

It’s crazy how much impact words can make, especially when naming something so vague and intangible. Simply using the term Mother Nature is scientifically proven to lead people to be more green in their actions, so try calling on her in your everyday language.


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