This is a scientific discipline concerned with the study of impacts that human beings have on the environment around them, and how the environment affects them. The role human beings play in conserving and sustaining the environment has been identified using relevant psychological theories. This has been eased by research findings that exist in this field (Clayton & Myers, 2009).
Definition of Environmental Psychology
According to Clayton and Myers (2009), environmental psychology is a branch of psychology that is concerned with the relationship between human beings and the environment within which they live. It involves studying relevant theories, and how they can be applied in real life. In general, this is a discipline concerned with streamlining rules of engagement between human beings and the environment.
Theories used in Environmental Psychology
Evolutionary Psychology Theory
Under this theory, the need to survive is the greatest reason why human minds undergo evolution. The human mind is divided into small sections that can be studied to identify the role played by the brain in the interaction between human beings and the environment.
The sections studied are biases and perceptions. It is believed that the environment dictates the way the human beings live in it. The dictation involves influence on activities such as mating, feeding, and social organization. In addition, the theory posits that the need to survive in the environment compels human beings to change their means of communication thus resulting in the development of a variety of languages.
This means that human behavior in any given environment is the result of the environment dictating people how they should live in it (Korpela, 1989).
This is another approach to environmental psychology that posits human adaptation to the environment to be the result of intrinsic effect. According to the proponents of this theory, human beings usually develop a genetic predisposition to depend or associate with the environment as a result of the need to survive (Clayton & Myers, 2009). This theory opposes the famous notion that inherited traits are solely responsible for human behavior. Instead, it posits emotions to be reactions to external stimuli.
Identification of edible plants is one of the examples quoted under this hypothesis (Clayton & Myers, 2009).
Importance of Research in Environmental Psychology
The relationship between human beings and the environment within which they live is vital. They are inseparable, and will continue to have an effect on each other as long as they exist. The fact that they constantly affect each other requires research to help understand their relationship. Environmental pollution as a result of human activities is one best example that illustrates the relationship between the two. Pollution has become a serious threat to the human race. In this respect, it is necessary to carry out studies to understand the possible impact one can have on the other so as to avoid the wiping out of the human race (Hansla, Gamble, & Juliusson, 2008).
It is natural to have a system to balance the existence of organisms in any given environment to ensure that the environment is not altered.
This system also ensures that the environment does not destroy the lives of the organisms. However, human beings do not obey the rules of such balanced systems. Therefore, this necessitates teaching through a discipline such as environmental psychology and relevant theories. Through such approaches, the human species will definitely understand the importance of conserving and caring for the environment. Unless human beings focus on the well being of the environment, their own survival will always be threatened.
Clayton, S. & Myers, G. (2009).
Conservation Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Hansla, A.
, Gamble, A., & Juliusson, A. (2008). The relationships between awareness of consequences, environmental concern, and value orientations. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28 (1), 1-9.
Korpela, K. (1989). Place-identity as a product of environmental self-regulation.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, 9 (3), 241-256.