Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_306


Defining a particular relationship between nature and society, sustainability is closely linked to the social construction and social use of nature because humans require an ecosystem (i.e., limited areas of interaction between all living organisms and nonliving components such as water, rocks, air, minerals) that supplies sufficient renewable resources (e.g., clean air, water) to survive and nonrenewable resources (e.g., minerals, natural gas) for the production of goods. Through the advent of modernization, industrialism, and the development of capitalism (especially in the neoliberal form it has taken since the late 1970s), the social construction of nature has shifted from a perspective of a living organism with which humans live in harmony (e.g., mother earth) to an instrumental view (i.e., nature as machine). At the same time, the social use of nature has shifted from local sustainable utilization such as subsistence farming (although there are some historical...

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Online Resources

  1. United Nations and Sustainability: www.un.org/en/sustainability/
  2. United Nations: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/
  3. United Nations Millennium Development Goals: www.un.org/millenniumgoals/environ.shtml
  4. WWF Footprint Calculator: http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/
  5. Conservation Psychology: www.conservationpsychology.org/
  6. Environmental Justice Foundation: www.ejfoundation.org/
  7. Community-based social marketing: www.cbsm.com

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada