Growing home together: An eco-phenomenological study of urban wild-gardeners’ experience of insects

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUCSUS

Abstract: Assumptions about humankind’s separation from the rest of life on Earth have fuelled worldwide environmental destruction and a subsequent widespread loss of abundance and biodiversity amongst insects. As insects are vital to the health of the biosphere, a reconciliation of humans with the natural world is in due season. Drawing on eco-phenomenological ideas of the Flesh, embodied perception, and body language, I investigate how ten urban wild-gardeners’ experiences of and with insects influence their ecological awareness, sense of agency, and motivation to support biodiversity within their gardens. Analysis reveals that (a) ecological awareness steers aesthetic preference towards wilder nature, (b) interspecies relations are deeply embodied and contribute to a human’s understanding of environmental complexities, and (c) despite reservations about personal agency, the gardeners’ more-than-human experiences can inspire individual and community-level sustainable change. I conclude by discussing the potential of embodied more-than-human experiences within and outside sustainability science.

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