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Human Behavior and Environmental Sustainability

Charles Vlek (Editor), Linda Steg (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-7548-7
220 pages
March 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Human Behavior and Environmental Sustainability (1405175486) cover image
Environmental sustainability is a necessity for all countries worldwide, and it is strongly related to human quality of life. Given that sustainability problems largely result from human-environment interactions, social and behavioral research is developing as a necessary complement to natural-science and technological studies of environmental problems. To demonstrate this, the various authors address key theoretical, methodological and policy-making questions about the behavioral dimensions of environmental sustainability. Successively considered are the appreciation of environmental risk, citizens’ annoyance from environmental noise, the evaluation of urban environmental quality, the restorative significance of nature experiences, fundamental behavioral processes and environmental motivations, and unsustainable-behavior change and the roles of technology therein. The usefulness of multidisciplinary research is emphasized. Finally explicated is psychology’s drive and potential for analyzing and supporting environmental sustainability as a long-term human social and economic interest.
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Charles Vlek is professor emeritus of environmental psychology and decision research at the University of Groningen (NL). He is one of the founders of the European Research Conference on Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making (SPUDM). He co-organized the Dutch Societal Discussion on Energy Policy (1982/3) and participated in the Dutch Commission for Environmental Impacts Assessment (1986-'96). He has been an editor of Acta Psychologica and is a consulting editor for the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Since 2003 he chairs a national research program on human society and environmental quality.

Linda Steg is lecturer in environmental psychology at the University of Groningen. Her research focuses on measuring, understanding and changing environmentally significant behavior, like household energy use and car use. She is president elect of Division 4 'Environmental Psychology', and treasurer of Division 13 'Traffic and Transportation Psychology' of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP). She coordinates the sustainability network of the International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS).

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This journal issue is meant:

· to (re-)draw readers’ attention to the seriousness of various environmental problems and the potential of the behavioral sciences to understand human-environment transactions;

· to demonstrate, for a variety of environmental problems, the usefulness of sound conceptual modeling and research design;

· to elucidate the importance of environmental quality for human well-being (and, consequently, sustainability), and to clarify the behavioral management of environmental problems;

· to illustrate the transactional nature of the human-environment relationship;

· to argue and demonstrate the usefulness of multidisciplinary collaboration as well as the potential of behavioral research for underpinning environmental policy making.

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