Subjective Well-Being and the Importance of Nature in Greenland

Naja Carina Steenholdt

Abstract

This article explores the importance of contact with nature to subjective well-being (SWB) in Greenland. Through a qualitative approach based on 70 face-to-face interviews in 13 towns and villages in north, south, east, and central Greenland, the objective is first to explore and discuss perceptions of nature and its importance to SWB. Second, the article expands the discussion to include a theoretical debate about how Greenlandic people perceive and interact with nature. This study reveals that nature is highly important to SWB with little variation among locations. More notably, the findings indicate variation in what nature means and how nature is perceived. The importance of nature to SWB highly involves recreational contact with nature, suggesting a possible development towards a paradigm shift in the common perceptions of nature among Greenlandic Inuit, where people mostly perceive nature as an external domain rather than a domain that transcends the physical and meta-physical, as traditional views on nature have been described previously.

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