Psychology for the Sake of the Environment

  • Joan FreemanEmail author


As people begin to take responsibility for the welfare of the earth and no longer see themselves as passive spectators of uncontrollable climatic forces, psychology can offer support and direction. Psychological techniques can help to change both attitudes and behaviour for the benefit of the environment. The greatest influences for positive change usually come from the social and educational psychology of the home, school and workplace.

Children can be educated to see beyond their domestic world, and draw on their learning so as to use it for the community’s mutual benefit. Consideration of difficult concepts such as time, space, biodiversity, the troposphere and technology calls for an intelligent and educated population which can read and think scientifically to distinguish genuine evidence from false trails and conspiracy theories. This chapter looks at psychological research evidence and draws practical conclusions from it on changing minds and behaviour for the sake of the environment.

To change habits, we need to know, for example, why people say out loud that they want to stop negative climate change and yet behave recklessly in climate terms in their everyday lives. There are conflicts of interests to be addressed here.


Cognitive Dissonance Cultural Influence Psychological Capital Psychological Defence Investigate Climate Change 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK

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