Psychology and Environmental Sustainability

Full Title

Beyond traditional roles: The contribution of psychology to environmental sustainability


The problems of environmental protection are wicked problems, without clear solutions and with complex interdependencies between human and non-human species and the physical/material environment. There is increasing need, as well as increasing interest, in joining the knowledge and methods of psychologists with the more traditional approaches of ecologists, conservation biologists, and environmental policy makers. There have been many multidisciplinary collaborations; yet, the results of these collaborations are still fragmented, and overall awareness of the potential contributions of psychology is still limited. To progress beyond the current state of affairs, Drs. Susan Clayton and Patrick Devine-Wright will convene a workshop for psychologists and those in similar disciplines who are working to address issues linked to some of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20+). Of particular interest to the team will be to understand how psychology is relevant to environmental problems and to examine what we know that might be useful in addressing them. In addition, the team will determine what the important gaps in our knowledge are and which research gaps might benefit from interdisciplinary work between psychologists and natural scientists.

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Susan Clayton, The College of Wooster
Patrick Devine-Wright, University of Exeter
Mirilia Bonnes, Sapienza University of Rome
Amanda Carrico, Vanderbilt University
Linda Steg, University of Groningen
Paul Stern, National Academy of Sciences
Janet Swim, Pennsylvania State University
Jim Taylor, Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa
Carol Werner, University of Utah
Lorraine Whitmarsh, Cardiff University