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  Environment, psychology and health news
A monthly update of environment, psychology and health news

February 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

More interesting news on the environment and psychology from a variety of sources.    


Susie Burke and Harriet Radermacher

Public Interest, Environment and Disaster Response
twitter:  @BurkePsy.

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NEW! APS Award

APS Climate and Psychology Student Research Award


The APS Psychology and the Environment Interest Group's (PEIG) have a new award.

This award encourages and supports innovative projects that address aspects of climate change mitigation or adaptation using psychological knowledge or strategies.

I want more information about this award!

Inaugural award nominations for 2015 has been extended, and now closes on 31 st March, 2016. Please circulate this information to interested parties.

Environmental psychology courses online?

Environmental psychology at UC Irvine, USA

Dan Stokols offers an excellent environmental psychology course at UC Irvine.  The homepage for the course is at this URL:

Dan's 2012 version of the course is available for free on itunes here.

University of Washington

Lindsay McCunn also teaches a course in environmental psychology at the University of Washington.  She also has a teaching and learning blog with syllabi and outlines for activities that are based largely on courses taught in environmental psychology at the University of Victoria (in British Columbia, Canada).

Clich here for her blog:

Psychology Today Blog:


Seeing Earth from space changes you – and you don't even have to leave the planet


Annahita Nezami, Jan15, The Conversation

People who have seen Earth from space report a “cognitive shift in awareness”. It is often experienced as a profound feeling of awe and interconnection, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. This PhD research has implications for psychologists who could use images of Earth from space, via virtual reality simulations or video footage, as a therapeutic tool to promote well-being, diminish stress, or even relieve distress at the end of life.

Read the article

Human Kind

A study by the Common Cause Foundation, reveals two transformative findings. The first is that a large majority of the 1000 people they surveyed – 74% – identify more strongly with unselfish values than with selfish values. This means that they are more interested in helpfulness, honesty, forgiveness and justice than in money, fame, status and power. The second is that a similar majority – 78% – believes others to be more selfish than they really are. In other words, we have made a terrible mistake about other people’s minds.

This misperception matters! People who hold this inaccurate belief about other people’s values feel significantly less positive about getting involved – joining meetings, voting, volunteering. These people also report greater social alienation. They report feeling less responsible for their communities, and they are less likely to feel that they fit in with wider society – relative to citizens who hold more accurate perceptions of a typical person’s values.

Read the common cause research here

Or read George Monbiot's article on the research here.

The science for climate change only feeds the denial: how do you beat that?

head in sand

John Cook, 27 January 2016, The Conversation

As the scientific consensus for climate change has strengthened over the past decade, the arguments against the science of climate change have been on the increase.

Read the article

Doomsday Clock Stays At 3 Minutes To Midnight

two way

Laura Wagner, 26 January 2016, NPR The Two Way

This story illustrates a very good reason to keep up the good work...

The Doomsday Clock remains unchanged this year, at three minutes to midnight. The clock symbolizes how close humanity is to destroying itself, with midnight representing global apocalyptic disaster.

Read the article

Useful Resources

The One Stop Shop for Litter Prevention

DIY bin

Check out this new website for resources to help understand littering behaviour and how to keep your public places clean. Karen Spehr and Rob Curnow are both community and environmental psychologists from Victoria who have developed this website and a book to share their expertise in littering behaviour. 

Healthy Futures - Divestment campaign for First State Super and HESTA

Healthy Futures is a group of health professionals, students and supporters organising to address climate change and related threats to health.

They are currently running a divestment campaign to get super funds to divest from fossil fuels.  They are targetting two major health sector super funds, First State Super and HESTA. 

Health professionals work hard every day to get the best outcomes for their patients. It doesn't make sense that our savings are then used to fund fossil fuel industries that cause air pollution and consequent heart, lung and nervous system diseases as well cancers. Besides being unhealthy, fossil fuel investments are also failing financially; Market Forces' new report released this week, "BURNED", estimates that First State Super’s default investment option lost $685 million on fossil fuel company shares over 2014-2015.

Click here to find out how to support Healthy Futures' campaigns.

Climate Visuals

Climate Visuals is an evidence-based resource for visual climate change communication. This growing, interactive library of images is designed to provide inspiration and guidance for journalists, campaigners, bloggers and anyone else using imagery to communicate climate change. The website and associated report centres on 7 key principles for visually communicating climate change based on our research involving thousands of citizens in the UK, US and Germany during 2015.

Climate Visuals is a collaboration between Climate Outreach, Global Call to Climate Action, 10:10, the Minor Foundation and UMassAmherst.

Centre for Climate Protection

"Local Action moves the world".  This is the motto of this climate protection organisation, which works with business, government, youth and the broader community to advance practical, science-based solutions for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions.  Check out their website for a host of excellent resources to help with climate action.

Education and Training

PhD positions in Environmental Psychology


Two new PhD positions are up for grabs in the Environmental Psychology group at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, with the focus on public acceptability of energy sources, systems, and policies.

Tell me more!