Psychology's Role in the Conserving Society

Oskamp, S. (1983). Psychology's role in the conserving society. Population and Environment Behavioral and Social Issues, 6, 4, 255-293.

Reviews the literature on areas of progress in the environmental problems that affect people's lives and behaviors. It is suggested that psychologists and other social scientists can help in the transition to a more conservation-oriented way of life. They recently have begun to do relevant research in several areas: environmental pollution, recycling and solid wastes, reducing litter, and energy usage and conservation. Research approaches that have been used include studies of environmental and energy attitudes, behavioral research, social interaction studies, community conservation programs, and large-scale consumer research. More work is especially needed on the topics of transportation energy use, industrial and commercial energy conservation, and community action campaigns. Research efforts should increasingly utilize measures of actual behavior and actual energy usage, long-term longitudinal approaches, realistic field settings, and cost-effective procedures. In addition to doing research, psychologists can contribute to the advent of the conserving society through program evaluation studies, proposals for innovation, dissemination of validated scientific knowledge, and offering policy advice. (51/2 p ref)

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