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PSY435H1 (48)

Lecture 1.doc

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Betsy Bennett Purvis

Intro • Psychology and the environment - environmental problems have to do with behaviour and environmental solutions have to do with change in behaviour • Mental health is influenced by one’s environment • Canada’s ranking last in environmental protection planning and policies among the developed nations • Two types of solutions to environmental problems - technological + policy changes o Also, economics  shifting human bh b/c of economic incentives o Community-based approach • Raising awareness about certain things in order to persuade public opinion • Shift in environmental movement o In past, aim is to achieve political victories o In past, “reduce reuse recycle”  vast mistake b/c • The scale of the problem and the scale of the solution are mismatched o It says to the public, realistically there isn’t anything you can do, because whether or not you recycle your water bottle makes no difference • Focus on recycle and not reduce  easy to implement and doesn’t affect economics ← ← Attitudes vs. Behaviour • Attitudes  bh but not always • Differences between implicit and explicit levels of attitudes o Some attitudes are not deeply internalized • Other things also affect bh, not just attitudes o If you look strictly at attitudes, you’re not going to get a thorough explanation of one’s behaviour o Other factors: convenience, etc. • Bh  attitude link is fairly strong, stronger than att  bh link • Positive feedback loop - beneficial b/c small changes in either Att OR bh leads to bigger changes in both o Foot in the door technique • 1970s - energy conservation; 80s - 3 Rs, Acid Rain, Green Consumerism o lots of time to incrementally, bit-by-bit reorient bh o if we had more time, foot-in-the-door technique is effective • organic food companies are being gobbled up by inorganic food companies o more profitable • Environmental problems are scary and imminent, no longer in the future o Acidification of the oceans  plummeting of biodiversity (timeframe: couple of decades) o Climate change will start spiraling out of control within this century  Some people argue that it is about to spiral out of control or that it already has • Two possibilities (other than completely ignoring it): o 1) human ingenuity will bail us out; humans are good at solving problems and invent stuff o 2) behaviour change is necessary but lifestyle-based change is not sufficient (maybe in a century, but not in a decade)  lifestyle change is not quick enough • geo-engineering projects: engineering the earth o as the scale of problems get bigger and problems become global, our solutions will be bigger and global o e.g., spraying sulfur into the air can cool the Earth. A single billionaire can fund it. o E.g., seeding the ocean with iron particles lead to algae blooms that suck carbon out of the atmosphere o E.g., mirrors in the space that can regulate the amount of sunlight
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