The Psychology of Environmental Problems

The Psychology of Environmental Problems

The Psychology of Environmental Problems

The Psychology of Environmental Problems

Synopsis

A revision of Winter's Ecological Psychology (1996), this book applies psychological theory and research to environmental problems. After outlining current environmental difficulties, the authors demonstrate how 6 major approaches in psychology (social psychological, psychoanalytic, behavioral, physiological, cognitive, and holistic) can be applied to environmental problems. The authors demonstrate why it is critical to address environmental threats now, and offer ideas on how psychological principles can contribute to building a sustainable culture. Personal examples engage the reader and provide suggestions for changing behavior and political structures. Reorganized and updated throughout, the second edition features a new chapter on neuropsychological and health issues and a list of key concepts in each chapter. Cartoons and humorous analogies add a light touch to the book's serious message. Written for psychology and environmental studies students, the book is an excellent teaching tool in courses on environmental, conservation, or ecological issues, found in departments of psychology, sociology, environmental science, and biology. It also appeals to anyone interested in psychology's potential contributions to mounting ecological difficulties.

Excerpt

This book is about the psychology of environmental problems, and is the second edition of Deborah's (1996) text, Ecological Psychology: Healing the Split Between Planet and Self. Deborah was moved to do the first edition after being profoundly affected by an experience while she was living in Europe. Although it would be simplistic to claim just one event could change one's life, there was one that substantially affected her life path. Deborah was on a sabbatical from her teaching position at Whitman College, living in Copenhagen in the winter of 1988, when she visited a friend in Hamburg. One dreary November afternoon, they walked along the shore of the Elbe River past some beautiful Victorian homes. Deborah tried to visualize how pleasant these houses would be in the summer sun, facing the water. She pictured well-dressed little children in white lace, frolicking along the water's edge, with their nannies looking on. As they continued on, her friend asked what she would like to eat for dinner that evening. Deborah suggested fish, because they were at the waterfront. Her friend answered that fish is very difficult to get and not very good. But why, she asked, when we are so near the water? Her friend responded, “The water is dead here. It's been dead for years. Nothing grows in it. ” “Oh, that's ok, ” Deborah said, and suggested pasta instead.

As they continued on, Deborah's thoughts returned to the problem of dead water. Suddenly, she stepped into a new world: a world where the industrial pollutants of a city could actually kill water. Not just water in an isolated lake, but water in a big river. She looked at that water, then, and saw it was black and ominous. It looked like liquid . . .

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