This is the first installment of a blog that will focus on sustainability and environmental issues. Some of you may be wondering how this is relevant to Psychology Today. Here's the basic argument—which will be further explored in future entries.
As a science, psychology focuses largely on the study of human behavior. What could be more important, or timely, than exploring the ways in which human behavior affects the natural environment? As a practice, psychology emphasizes the promotion of health and well-being. A growing body of research describes the many ways, both obvious and subtle, in which natural environments contribute to human health.
For example, a recent report from EnvironmentAmerica summarizes the natural disasters that occurred in 2011 and concludes that there were more than usual, and that this increase is likely to become the new normal. Think about the human impacts of these disasters: not just the costs to the economic and physical infrastructure and (sometimes) the loss of life, but longer-term and more abstract effects on social networks, sense of place, anxiety, and stress.