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Conservation Psychology: A Human’s Response to Earth’s Destruction

Conservation Psychology: A Human’s Response to Earth’s Destruction

by April 11, 2017 Science

Since Earth has entered modernization, the world gradually deteriorates – extinction of species, global warming, and destruction of nature.

Humans are eyed to be the greatest contributors of environmental deterioration. According to Forbes, “in estimated one billion years, the concentration of carbon-dioxide in earth’s atmosphere will be too low to sustain plants” which will also lead to lack of the source of food for animals and humans.

Scientists believe that humans can still counter the possibility of Earth coming to an end. Conservation is the key way to prevent the world’s extinction.

Social sciences can play a vital role in studying how to conserve Earth. Thus, the birth of a new field in science called “Conservation Psychology”.

Let us get to know what Conservation Psychology by dissecting its essential variables.

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Psychology is being defined by Simply Psychology as the “scientific study of the mind and behavior”. It studies various disciplines and fields including human development, social behavior, and cognitive processes, among others. According to Myers (2003), Psychology involves human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In short, we can say that psychology is all about “mind” and “behavior”.


Britannica defines “conservation” as the “protection of things found in nature” including water, soil, minerals, wildlife, forests and all of Earth’s natural resources. They also suggested that the people who involve in conservation “try to preserve natural resources so they will still be around in the future”. It is also an act of keeping the environment clean and healthy.

Human Behavior

Human behavior refers to the “the potential and expressed capacity for physical, mental, and social activity during the phases of human life” (Britannica). However, in the view of social psychologist Susan Clayton, human behavior can be related to the natural environment. According to her, human behavior refers to “how we reproduce, consume, and utilize geographical territory”. She also added that our behavior contributed to the “global climate change, desertification, pollution, and the loss of biodiversity”. But, our behavior too can “help mitigate and adapt to these problems”.

Natural Environment

Apparently, natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things. It involves the interaction of species, climate, weather and all natural resources that influence human survival and economic activity. Now, our natural environment faces a lot of issues, including climate change and global warming.

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Now, What Is Conservation Psychology?

According to Saunders (2003), Conservation Psychology is the “scientific study of the reciprocal relationships between humans and the rest of nature, with a particular focus on how to encourage conservation of the natural world”. Through its use of psychological principles, theories and methods, we can be able to “understand and solve issues related to human aspects of conservation”.

According to Clayton (2009), this new field of science aims to “integrate and publicize the psychological theory and research that are relevant to understanding and promoting the connections between humans and the natural world”.

In addition, Saunders (2003) defined Conservation Psychology as the “actual network of researchers and practitioners who work together to understand and promote a sustainable and harmonious relationship between people and the natural environment.”

Thus, Conservation Psychology aims to study the human behavior, as a key factor in the conservation of the natural environment.