Welcome to the website of the Psychology and the Environment Interest Group.
The Psychology and Environment Interest Group has become active again, following a period of inactivity from 2003, with the energy and commitment of some new members, and reflecting continuing strong interest of members across the environmental domain and the urgency of issues such as climate change, habitat loss, water scarcity, and environmental degradation.
The group would like to extend an invitation to any interested psychologists, including psychology students, to become a member and be involved in some way in the greening of our profession and the profiling of some of the diverse involvements which psychologists have with ‘the environment’, with an emphasis on the Australian context.
So what does ‘Psychology and the environment’ encompass? We see this as umbrella phrase encompassing environmental psychology, ‘conservation psychology’, and many other areas of psychology and applications of psychology where the nature of people’s perceptions of, experience of, connections with, or impacts on and of their natural and built environments are particularly important, and/or where pressing ‘environmental’ issues or problems would benefit from a psychological analysis and consideration, or from psychological theory and research findings, ideally in a collaborative, interdisciplinary context.
The most frequently asked questions of psychologists working in the environmental domain are typically: What is environmental psychology? What is conservation psychology? What are psychologists actually doing in the environment arena? There are no brief answers to these questions, but for the present purpose we would answer that:
There are other similar sounding names to environmental psychology, but which cover overlapping and typically multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary domains. These include environment-behavior studies, environment-behavior research, and people-environment studies or transactions. A source of some confusion is that ‘environmental psychology’ is frequently used by nonpsychologists as an encompassing term synonymous with all of the above.
The membership of the Psychology Interest Group is diverse, with some members having a long history working in the area of environmental psychology, others having spent much of their professional lives working in areas such as architectural psychology, urban design and planning, organisational psychology, natural resource management, CSIRO, therapeutic environment design, and outdoor recreation and leisure studies. Other members are psychologists working across diverse areas of psychology, who are concerned about and/or are directly involved in initiatives relating to the sustainability and integrity of our natural environment, and local, national and global multidisciplinary projects relating to climate change, urban renewal, and environmental degradation.
An important objective of the interest group is to foster a greater involvement by psychology and psychologists across the spectrum of environmental issues and challenges facing Australians and the global community. We feel that phenomena such as climate change constitute particularly critical social as well as environmental issues which require a renewed commitment and involvement - and an informed ecological literacy - on the part of psychology.
There are many excellent sources for finding out more about psychology and the environment. Click here to go to the Resources page.