Negotiating nature's weather worlds in the context of life with sight impairment

Sarah L Bell, Catherine Leyshon, Cassandra Phoenix

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We have seen longstanding research interest in diverse nature-society relations, including contentious debates regarding what nature is, the role of humans within or apart from it, and how varied types of non-human nature shape different societies and individuals within society. Within this work, relatively little attention has been paid to an important aspect of nature experienced everyday; people’s “weather-worlds”. These encompass the qualities of sensory experience that are shaped by fluxes in the 2 medium – the air – in which we routinely live and breathe. Such currents, forces and pressure gradients underwrite our capacities to act and interact with both the animate and inanimate materials and beings we encounter as we negotiate our everyday lives. We focus on these weather worlds here, drawing on the findings of an in-depth qualitative study exploring how people with varying forms and severities of sight impairment describe their nature experiences; with the weather emerging as an immediate and often highly visceral form of everyday nature encounter amongst all participants. We reflect on the ephemeral qualities of people’s weather-worlds, highlighting their potential to comfort, invigorate and connect, but also to disorientate, threaten and isolate, at times supporting moments of wellbeing, at others exacerbating experiences of impairment and disability. In doing so, we highlight how attending to the weather is essential if we are to fully understand people’s emplaced experiences of wellbeing, impairment and disability with(in) diverse forms of multi-elemental, assembled ‘nature’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-283
Number of pages14
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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