Conservation Psychology: Understanding and promoting human care for nature / Edition 1

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This textbook introduces the reader to the new and emerging field of Conservation Psychology, which explores connections between the study of human behavior and the achievement of conservation goals.

People are often cast as villains in the story of environmental degradation, seen primarily as a threat to healthy ecosystems and an obstacle to conservation. 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 first summarizes theory and research on human cognitive, emotional, and behavioral 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 behavior at both individual and societal levels. Throughout, the authors integrate a wide body of published literature to demonstrate how and why psychology is relevant to promoting a more sustainable relationship between humans and nature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Overall, their book will likely serve as a main textbook for a dedicated course or seminar in conservation psychology. However, the book will also be of great value to researchers and those teaching related courses by providing greater depth of understanding of human drivers of pressing environmental issues." (Landscape Ecol, 2011)

"Conservation Psychology serves its audience and purpose well. It would be an excellent supplementary textbook to many conservation-focused graduate and undergraduate courses. Readers interested in conservation should find this volume fascinating, and will discover new insight into, as the authors note, the psychology of perseverance in the face of difficult times". (The Quarterly Review of Biology, 1 December 2010)

“I highly recommend their book to psychologists of all creeds as well as to conservation biologists, environmental scientists, policy-makers, teachers, and anyone concerned about our evolving place in nature.” (Conservation Psychology, August 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405176781
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 658,995
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Clayton is a professor of social psychology at the College of Wooster. Her research aims to understand the ways in which people relate to nature, as well as to investigate broader issues of identity and justice. She is a past president of the Society for Population and Environmental Psychology.

Olin Eugene (Gene) Myers Jr. is Associate Professor at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, where he offers courses in conservation psychology, human ecology, environmental ethics, and is extensively involved in undergraduate and graduate programs in environmental education. His research interests are wide-ranging and include psychology and anthrozoology as applied to conservation.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

1 Introducting the field of conservation psychology 1

Conservation 2

Psychology 2

Human care for nature 5

The roots of conservation psychology 6

The potential of conservation psychology 7

The organization of this book 10

Conclusion 11

Part I Thinking about nature 13

2 Attitudes, values, and perceptions 15

Core understandings of nature 15

Risk perception 22

Biases in information processing 24

Language and discourse 27

Who is responsible? 30

Linking perceptions to behavior 31

Conclusion 33

3 Moral psychology and the environment 34

Background in ethical concepts 35

A virtue ethics of the environment 35

The Deontic tradition and psychological research 39

Contextual differences in moral duties 43

Consequentialism, emotion, and socialization 45

Psychological dynamics of moral functioning 48

Pragmatist ethics 50

Conclusion 53

4 Environment and identity 54

The concept of identity 54

Identity development 55

Developing an affiliation with nature 58

Environmental identity 59

Measuring environmental identity 61

Place identity 62

Animals and identity 65

Environmental social identity 66

Identity and behavior 68

Putting identity to work 70

Conclusion 72

5 Theoretical foundations for the human response to nature 73

The heritage of environmental psychology 73

Ecological perception and psychology 74

Evolutionary psychology and biological thinking 78

Biophilia 81

Combining nature and nurture 84

Experiential approaches 86

Conclusion 88

Part II Interactions with nature 89

6 Domestic nature: Cohabiting with animals and plants 91

Animals in the home 91

Plants in the domestic sphere100

Conclusion 104

7 Managed nature: Zoos, aquariums, and public parks 106

Zoos and aquariums 107

Urban parks and green spaces 116

Conclusion 120

8 Wild nature: Encounters with wilderness 121

Defining wilderness and wild nature 121

Wilderness use and wilderness values 123

Wilderness solitude 125

Natural forces and features 127

The edge of control: Wilderness remoteness and challenge 132

Activity in wild nature, connection and caring 135

Wild nature and spiritual experience 136

Conclusion 139

Part III Promoting conservation 141

9 Promoting sustainable behavior 143

Identifying target behaviors 143

Influences on behavior 145

Models for changing behavior 156

Collective behavior 157

Changing the ideology of consumerism 159

Conclusion 160

10 Community psychology and international biodiversity conservation 162

International biodiversity conservation 163

Common pool resources and models of governance 164

Psychology, culture, and local knowledge 170

Accounting for the costs and benefits of conservation 172

Conservation and all-too-human psychology 177

Conclusion 178

11 Environmental education 180

Environmental education 181

Examples of contemporary environmental education 185

Psychological foundations of environmental education 189

Lessons for effective practice 195

Conclusion 197

12 The psychology of hope 198

Human response to threatening circumstances 198

Optimism and pessimism 200

An alternative to a focus on outcomes: Creating meaning 204

Glossary 207

References 213

Index 246

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