About Human Nature
Human Nature was founded by Dr Rebecca Jefferson.
Human Nature was born out of Rebecca’s belief that social sciences are a vital tool for successful nature conservation. Humans create most of the problems our planet faces. We also care about the impact of these issues. And we are the agents of positive change – we can help humans and the natural world to flourish together. Social challenges and environmental challenges are inextricably linked.
This is where Human Nature comes in.
We provide training to scientists so they can confidently understand and apply existing relevant social science research, as well as work more effectively with the public in relation to their agenda.
We offer mentoring to organisational leaders who want to ensure they are making best use of social science to meet their conservation outcomes.
And we empower individuals to make informed choices that balance their needs with those of the planet as they go about everyday life.
Officially launched in January 2020, it has been five years in the making, and draws on over a decade of her experience as a social science research scientist for organisations including Natural England, The University of Plymouth and, most recently, as the first social scientist in the RSPB’s Centre For Conservation Science.
Rebecca initially trained as a biologist, and with her interdisciplinary PhD in marine sciences she ‘crossed over’ into the world of social sciences. Though rather than bridging a divide, she prefers to see social sciences and environmental conservation as collaborators.
In her teaching and research across the academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors she has seen time and time again the power of bringing the natural and social sciences together to influence policy and ‘greener’ behaviours.
Rebecca sees the growing appetite in individuals and organisations to do better – the desire to make changes to how they go about life and business so they have a more harmonious relationship with the natural world.
More than this, Rebecca firmly believes in the potential for people to be a force for good as we tackle ecological and climate crises – humans don’t have to be part of the problem, they are the solution.
This belief is at the heart of Human Nature: a healthier and more optimistic future for both humans and the natural world we are part of is possible. But we need to work differently. We need to work from a more diverse expert base and we need to be better at integrating both people and nature into our thinking. Social science is pivotal to achieving this positive change.
Rebecca is a mother of two, stepmother of one, a sewing fanatic, and, of course, a nature lover who turns to the beach to unwind. As a citizen and consumer she continues on her own journey in deciding what’s best for herself, her family, and the natural environment, and is excited to use her research and teaching skills to help others do the same.
Human Nature: a social enterprise
Human Nature is a social enterprise. That means rather than paying dividends to shareholders our profits are reinvested into our work, or allied causes. We believe that harnessing the power of existing and future social science research at governmental, organisational and individual levels is critical if we are to respond to the ecological and climate crises we face. All our work is in service of this core belief.
We commit to:
Make conscious choices about our suppliers and prioritising community and/or environmentally focussed organisations where possible
Make our research and activities as accessible as possible. Where available, the scientific literature we draw on is Open Access.
Explore new ways to share our expertise, including discussing alternative fees and reciprocal arrangements for NGOs and not-for-profits
Invest at least 20% of profits into charitable causes, with remaining profits reinvested into Human Nature, so we can develop our impact
Share our experiences of running a social enterprise with the ambition of supporting others to adopt this model of business
Report annually on our performance, providing honest reviews of how we are living up to our aspirations.
To find out more about how we put social sciences to work for the planet, take a look at what we do.