Part of the 2012 Sustainability Lecture Series
Social Ecology Doctoral Program at the University of California, Irvine
CUSA Transformational Media Lab
There is growing consensus that environmental, social, and economic sustainability are not possible given current trends and that understanding human interactions with the environment is a key aspect of ameliorating many of these issues. Psychology, as the science of human behavior, is in a prime position to assist with this task. Human interactions with sustainability include human drivers of un-sustainability (e.g. over-use of limited resources), human consequences of instability (e.g. natural and technological disasters), and human responses to a changing environment (e.g. mitigation and adaptation). Although progress is being made in the natural and physical sciences towards technological solutions and in political circles towards more sustainable policies, an understanding of individuals is vital for these new technologies to be adopted and policies supported. This talk will include a discussion of current and pressing issues in the psychology of sustainability and share recent insights in areas such as social norms, risk perception, message framing, and positive psychology that highlight some of the ways that psychology is contributing to these issues.