Conservation Psychology: Understanding and Promoting Human Care for Nature
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
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Can psychology help save the world? This is a question posed by Dr Susan Clayton and Dr Olin Eugene Myers Jr in their new title Conservation Psychology: Understanding and promoting human care for nature, published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, which charts the relationship between psychology and conservationism.
The title introduces the reader to the new and emerging field of Conservation Psychology, which explores connections between the study of human behaviour and the achievement of conservation goals.
“People are often cast as villains in the story of environmental degradation and are seen primarily as a threat to healthy ecosystems or as an obstacle to conservation,” said co-author Susan Clayton, “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 summarizes theory and research on human cognitive, emotional, and behavioural 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 behaviour at both individual and collective levels.
The authors address key debates which have become central to the emerging field of Conservation Psychology such as the role of self interest and self preservation compared to an altruistic caring for nature in the human response to climate change.
Topics that fall within conservation psychology include studies of conservation behaviours such as recycling, human-animal relationships, environment and identity, environmental education and socialization, environmental attitudes and environmental conflict.
“Modern environmental scientists may feel like Cassandra; blessed with the ability to foresee the future, but cursed in that no one will believe them”, say the authors. “Yet in the face of the environmental challenges and changes that have already begun, evidence from psychological research can provide an insight into human attitudes towards these challenges and how these attitudes can be changed.”
About the book
Conservation Psychology Understanding and promoting human care for nature
By Susan Clayton and Olin Eugene Myers J
£ 29.99, EUR 36.00, US$ 50.00