Psychological science, conservation, and environmental sustainability


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Ecological Society of America


Because environmental degradation has the potential to negatively affect mental and social well-being, environmental sustainability is highly relevant to psychologists, who have a tradition of interventions designed to change behavior. Although many psychologists are already using psychological knowledge and tools to protect environmental resources, their efforts are neither widely known nor extensively utilized in applied conservation settings. Here, we describe some barriers to effective conservation interventions adopted by psychologists and conservation professionals alike, and provide suggestions to both disciplines for more productive engagement. We also present an illustrative example of psychological science applied to promote environmental conservation in a zoological park setting. Our aim is to raise awareness of the possibilities for such collaboration and to urge conservation professionals and psychologists to work together in order to proactively address pressing environmental challenges.




Susan Clayton, Carla Litchfield, and E Scott Geller 2013. Psychological science, conservation, and environmental sustainability. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: 377–382.