Conservation Psychology : Understanding and Promoting Human Care for Nature

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-20
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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This textbook introduces the reader to the new and emerging field of Conservation Psychology, which explores connections between the study of human behavior and the achievement of conservation goals. People are often cast as villains in the story of environmental degradation, seen primarily as a threat to healthy ecosystems and an obstacle to conservation. But humans are inseparable from natural ecosystems. Understanding how people think about, experience, and interact with nature is crucial for promoting environmental sustainability as well as human well-being. The book first summarizes theory and research on human cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to nature and goes on to review research on people's experience of nature in wild, managed, and urban settings. Finally, it examines ways to encourage conservation-oriented behavior at both individual and societal levels. Throughout, the authors integrate a wide body of published literature to demonstrate how and why psychology is relevant to promoting a more sustainable relationship between humans and nature.

Author Biography

Susan Clayton is a professor of social psychology at the College of Wooster. Her research aims to understand the ways in which people relate to nature, as well as to investigate broader issues of identity and justice. She is a past president of the Society for Population and Environmental Psychology.

Olin Eugene (Gene) Myers Jr. is Associate Professor at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, where he offers courses in conservation psychology, human ecology, environmental ethics, and is extensively involved in undergraduate and graduate programs in environmental education. His research interests are wide-ranging and include psychology and anthrozoology as applied to conservation.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. viii
Introducing the field of conservation psychologyp. 1
Conservationp. 2
Psychologyp. 2
Human care for naturep. 5
The roots of conservation psychologyp. 6
The potential of conservation psychologyp. 7
The organization of this bookp. 10
Conclusionp. 11
Thinking about naturep. 13
Attitudes, values, and perceptionsp. 15
Core understandings of naturep. 15
Risk perceptionp. 22
Biases in information processingp. 24
Language and discoursep. 27
Who is responsible?p. 30
Linking perceptions to behaviorp. 31
Conclusionp. 33
Moral psychology and the environmentp. 34
Background in ethical conceptsp. 35
A virtue ethics of the environmentp. 35
The Deontic tradition and psychological researchp. 39
Contextual differences in moral dutiesp. 43
Consequentialism, emotion, and socializationp. 45
Psychological dynamics of moral functioningp. 48
Pragmatist ethicsp. 50
Conclusionp. 53
Environment and identityp. 54
The concept of identityp. 54
Identity developmentp. 55
Developing an affiliation with naturep. 58
Environmental identityp. 59
Measuring environmental identityp. 61
Place identityp. 62
Animals and identityp. 65
Environmental social identityp. 66
Identity and behaviorp. 68
Putting identity to workp. 70
Conclusionp. 72
Theoretical foundations for the human response to naturep. 73
The heritage of environmental psychologyp. 73
Ecological perception and psychologyp. 74
Evolutionary psychology and biological thinkingp. 78
Biophiliap. 81
Combining nature and nurturep. 84
Experiential approachesp. 86
Conclusionp. 88
Interactions with naturep. 89
Domestic nature: Cohabiting with animals and plantsp. 91
Animals in the homep. 91
Plants in the domestic spherep. 100
Conclusionp. 104
Managed nature: Zoos, aquariums, and public parksp. 106
Zoos and aquariumsp. 107
Urban parks and green spacesp. 116
Conclusionp. 120
Wild nature: Encounters with wildernessp. 121
Defining wilderness and wild naturep. 121
Wilderness use and wilderness Valuesp. 123
Wilderness solitudep. 125
Natural forces and featuresp. 127
The edge of control: Wilderness remoteness and challengep. 132
Activity in wild nature, connection and caringp. 135
Wild nature and spiritual experiencep. 136
Conclusionp. 139
Promoting conservationp. 141
Promoting sustainable behaviorp. 143
Identifying target behaviorsp. 143
Influences on behaviorp. 145
Models for changing behaviorp. 156
Collective behaviorp. 157
Changing the ideology of consumerismp. 159
Conclusionp. 160
Community psychology and international biodiversity conservationp. 162
International biodiversity conservationp. 163
Common pool resources and models of governancep. 164
Psychology, culture, and local knowledgep. 170
Accounting for the costs and benefits of conservationp. 172
Conservation and all-too-human psychologyp. 177
Conclusionp. 178
Environmental educationp. 180
Environmental educationp. 181
Examples of contemporary environmental educationp. 185
Psychological foundations of environmental educationp. 189
Lessons for effective practicep. 195
Conclusionp. 197
The psychology of hopep. 198
Human response to threatening circumstancesp. 198
Optimism and pessimismp. 200
An alternative to a focus on outcomes: Creating meaningp. 204
Glossaryp. 207
Referencesp. 213
Indexp. 246
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