The power of awe in extreme environments

Yosemite Valley, 2014 (Emma B)

Yosemite Valley, 2014 (Emma B)

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir The Yosemite (1912), page 256.

In recent talks (at Futurefest and Words by the Water) I mentioned that one of the most common features of accounts of extreme environments – and one of the many motivations for choosing them – is the experience of being in natural landscapes. And not just any natural landscapes – landscapes that inspire awe.

Alongside fear, awe is one of the most powerful and profound emotions experienced by individuals in extreme environments.

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