Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions

Date:
April 18, 2011
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people's lives.

Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people's lives, according to a special issue of American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association's flagship journal.

Related Articles


Climate change "poses significant risks for -- and in many cases is already affecting -- a broad range of human and natural systems," according to the May-June issue's introductory article, "Psychology's Contributions to Understanding and Addressing Global Climate Change." The authors call upon psychologists to increase research and work closely with industry, government and education to address climate change.

The role psychologists can play may be different from what many people expect. "Psychological contributions to limiting climate change will come not from trying to change people's attitudes, but by helping to make low-carbon technologies more attractive and user-friendly, economic incentives more transparent and easier to use, and information more actionable and relevant to the people who need it," wrote Paul C. Stern, PhD, of the National Research Council.

In the United States, "motor vehicle use and space heating are the most significant causes of climate change and therefore the most important targets for emissions reduction," according to Stern's article, "Contributions of Psychology to Limiting Climate Change."

"People's individual and household action has a larger aggregate climate impact than any other economic sector, with as much as 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from direct energy use by households," Stern wrote.

Psychology is essential to understanding the human causes and consequences of climate change, according to the introductory article's lead author, Jane K. Swim, PhD, of Pennsylvania State University and former chair of the APA Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change. "Moreover, psychology can play a significant role to help limit or mitigate climate change," she wrote.

Researchers analyzed human consumption and population as two globally significant factors accelerating climate change and emphasized how different cultures and ethical issues must be considered in an article entitled, "Human Behavioral Contributions to Climate Change," by Swim, Susan Clayton, PhD, of the College of Wooster, and George S. Howard, PhD, University of Notre Dame. "Cultural practices influence psychological factors by defining what are considered needs versus mere desires and by making particular behavior options possible, feasible and desirable," they wrote.

Climate change is a particularly challenging issue to confront because it evokes a different human response compared to other global crises, according to Thomas J. Doherty, PhD, of the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and Clayton.

"Altruistic or community-supportive responses are associated with natural disasters, whereas uncertainty and divisiveness are associated with technological disasters. The human response to climate change blurs the distinction typically found between responses to natural and technological disasters," they reported in a piece entitled "The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change."

Psychologists can use interventions drawn from disaster psychology and support long-term adjustment that recognizes varied responses to natural and technological disasters, the article states. They identified psychological impacts of climate change as acute and direct mental health injuries associated with extreme weather, natural disasters and degraded environments; indirect impacts, such as anxiety and uncertainty; and psychosocial impacts, including heat-related violence, conflicts over resources, migrations, dislocations and chronic environmental stress.

The issue updates and builds upon the findings and recommendations of APA's 2009 Task Force report, Psychology and Global Climate Change: Addressing a Multi-faceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418135535.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2011, April 18). Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418135535.htm
American Psychological Association. "Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418135535.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins