Wednesday, March 05, 2008

APA Monitor: Curbing Climate Change

In this month's APA Monitor, there's a special section on climate change. The question is whether psychology can help curb environmental problems (or phrased more provocatively, "Can psychology save the planet?"). It probably seems like a no-brainer (at least to me*), but that hasn't always been the case. Not too long ago, Susan Clayton** asked psychologists from several APA divisions their thoughts and attitudes on environmental practices. Here's some of the comments she received:

"This seems not to be a psychological issue, and thus not within our sphere."

"This is the silliest questionnaire I have filled out in a very long time. . . . It is virtually impossible to understate the importance of APA divisions [in regard to protecting the environment]."

Well, the good news is that these views are changing, and more people are indeed turning to psychology for ways to address environmental issues. So can psychology save the planet? If so, how?
*Although, thank goodness, other psychologists have gone "green."

**Clayton, S. (2000, August). Greening the branches: Environmental practices in APA divisions. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

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