Swedes seek “nature” in times of life crisis

View over mountains in Kebnekaise National Park in Sweden. Nature is cited as an important source of solice for many Swedes according to a recent study.  (iStock)
View over mountains in Kebnekaise National Park in Sweden. Nature is cited as an important source of solice for many Swedes according to a recent study. (iStock)
A new survey of cancer patients suggests that in times of crisis many Swedes find solace in “naturen,” which translates roughly to “nature” in English, but which also carries connotations of the countryside here.

Conducted by the University of Gävle and Uppsala University, the survey asked 2,355 cancer patients where they turn in crisis situations. Swedish Television reported that only 14 percent answered with religion, but 68 percent said they found solace and strength in “nature.”

“There is a strong nature romanticism. There is a feeling that, I would put it, “nature” has to do with existence itself. There are of course other cultures where people like nature. People visit the sea for example. But this is a different sentiment,” said Fereshteh Ahmadi, a sociologist at the University of Gävle.

Lena Linderholm, a woman who found a lump in her breast five years ago and who has since undergone chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, told Swedish Television that she received her “strength” from nature.

“It doesn’t have to be the great wide open,” she says, “I do love to hike in the Swedish mountains, and I did also get up there during my chemo, to get that strenght. But there is also nature around where we live, and in our gardens.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: New national park planned in Canada’s High Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Arctic parks among most visited in Finland, Yle News

Norway:  Surfing in the Arctic, Barents Observer

Russia:  Creating links across the Arctic – A look back on the Beringia Arctic Games, Eye on the Arctic

United States:  Hundreds of sled dogs rescued from Alaska wildfires, Alaska Dispatch News

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