Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Conservation Psychology

The behavioral aspects of sustainability seem to be getting more and more attention. Conservation Psychology is one of the emerging fields that explores the human/nature connection and its psychological aspects. Conservation Psychology is described as “the scientific study of the reciprocal relationships between humans and the rest of nature, with a particular focus on how to encourage conservation of the natural world. . . . the actual network of researchers and practitioners who work together to understand and promote a sustainable and harmonious relationship between people and the natural environment.”
 It seems particularly important to focus on the psychological aspects of our behavior towards environmental conservation issues since psychology looks at our attitudes and motivations. Technology will continue on its course of development; however, what motivates us as humans and how well (or not well) we work together to solve economic, social and environmental problems is essential. Conservation Psychology not only speaks to our motivations but also our attitudes toward nature, our environmental values and our connection to wildlife and the environment. All of these deep-rooted aspects of Conservation Psychology play a role in working on behalf of conservation issues. Scholars, business people and non-profit environmental organizers are increasingly aware of the important role of human behavior in solving many of the complex challenges that we face.

Conferences such as BECC (Behavior, Energy and Climate Conference) and the gatherings at the 2014 Conservation Psychology Institute (CPI) recognize the role of Conservation Psychology in designing ways for individuals to take meaningful action on behalf of the environment. Understanding why we act the way we do and what shapes our values is at the core of designing successful campaigns that create social change. Solving the psychological riddles associated with human behavior will have an equal or greater impact than technological breakthroughs that are already happening at breakneck speed.