Framing Nature


PIRC’s follow-up project to Common Cause for Nature

We all share values that are associated with justice, compassion and environmental concern, and we also all share values associated with image, competition and self-interest. These two sets of values are psychologically in conflict. This means that reading about the beauty of nature – or the experience of being in a park – can engage environmental values and at the same time suppress self-interested or materialistic values. It also means that being encouraged to think about profit and image will suppress environmental concern.

How can the conservation sector – and all nature lovers – seek to encourage our better selves and those of the wider public? Framing Nature (and Common Cause for Nature before it) seeks to explore this question and find practical, unifying techniques for doing so. We do this in the firm knowledge that we can create a greener, fairer, more wildlife rich world if we work together.

The project is in its second phase.

Phase 2: Framing Nature

Framing Nature builds and expands on the findings of Common Cause for Nature and is focused on practical advice and implementation. The project aims to bring the sector together through:

  • Providing tools and resources to enable conservation practitioners to understand and apply framing and values in relation to their work
  • Providing real-time support and advice to partners
  • Piloting new approaches to engaging the values associated with our better selves through engagement with conservation.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in a workshop or would like to find out more about Framing Nature contact Richard: .

Phase 1: Common Cause for Nature

Thirteen UK conservation organisations, including WWF and RSPB, came together in 2012 to commission this project. Tom Crompton of WWF-UK, Ruth Smyth of RSPB and Catrina Lennox of MSC were key to initiating the project which was subsequently led by PIRC. Original linguistic analysis was carried out by academics at Lancaster and Essex Universities of six months of external NGO communications. Through this analysis, and supplemented with input from interviews, workshops and surveys, Common Cause for Nature explores the values the sector promotes in its communications, campaigns and activities.

By learning from what works, and reforming what doesn’t, the sector can ensure its work cultivates the values that inspire lasting action.

The research built on the work of Common Cause. Common Cause: The Case for Working with our Cultural Values, was written by Tom Crompton and published in 2010 by COIN, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and WWF-UK and has since led to extensive debate within the third sector.


Find the Common Cause for Nature reports at the Common Cause website:

Download the Practitioner’s Guide | Buy a copy.
Download the Full Report

2 Responses

  1. Erinma Ochu

    Neither report links work and i would like to use in MSc teaching next semester

    • Richard Hawkins

      Hi Erinma, they should be fixed now, apologies!


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