A few efforts have been made to categorise these attitudes by some environmental philosophers, sociologists, green groups and so on. These are usually limited to textual categories and analyses. This discussion introduces a model that enables a visually oriented approach to categorising and comparing attitudes to Nature. It gains simplicity by operating at a high level of generality. Simplicity makes it flexible and adaptable. One of the benefits of visual approach is that it allows relationships to be more easily seen and mapped.
In this approach, conceptual ‘maps’ are devised from a composite approach named the ISEA model, a schematic tool assisting the description, classification and analysis of the ways in which people relate to and regard Nature, particularly in the contexts of environmental concerns and approaches to sound and music. As shown in the image above, the model identifies four generic orientations towards Nature, labelled the Instrumental, Spiritual, Pro-Environment and Pro-Animal/Plant perspectives, hence the acronym ISEA. As will be succinctly elucidated later in this discussion, these broad perspectives engender their own sets of issues and implications in the acoustic, social, psychological and environmental domains.
Each of the perspectives in the ISEA model is defined by a set of three descriptive attributes. The four perspectives are also polarized into contrasting qualities along the horizontal axis (Instrumental↔Spiritual) and vertical axis (Pro-Environment↔Pro-Animal/Plant). The degree of polarity is also visually conveyed by the colour gradients of the blue, red, green and yellow quadrants, whose symmetrical geometry outlines the boundaries of the perspectives. The resulting structural demarcation into the two axes and four coloured quadrants containing unique attributes provides a conceptual field for locating contrasting aspects of human-Nature relationships. In other words, the two bipolar and colour-coordinated dimensions aid the organization of contrasting attributes within the ISEA model such that broadly identifiable paradigms and standpoints can be reviewed both on their own and in relation to one another.
The perspectives polarized along both axes represent opposite ends of ideological or philosophical spectrums concerning human-Nature relationships. Briefly stated, the Instrumental↔Spiritual axis distinguishes the perspective that values the natural world in means-end rationales and anthropocentric terms (the Instrumental perspective) on the one hand; and the perspective that attaches importance to deep empathy and identification with Nature (the Spiritual perspective) on the other. The Pro-Environment↔Pro-Animal/Plant axis distinguishes the perspective whose concerns about Nature take the form of an organismic or biocentric emphasis on the rights and welfare of nonhumans (the Pro-Animal/Plant Perspective) on the one hand; and the perspective whose concerns are informed by a more systemic or ecocentric understanding of an ecosphere/ecosystem and its internal interrelations (the Pro-Environment perspective).