Identity and the Natural Environment: The Psychological Significance of Nature

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Susan D. Clayton, Susan Opotow
MIT Press, 2003 - Psychology - 353 pages
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The often impassioned nature of environmental conflicts can be attributed to the fact that they are bound up with our sense of personal and social identity. Environmental identity -- how we orient ourselves to the natural world -- leads us to personalize abstract global issues and take action (or not) according to our sense of who we are. We may know about the greenhouse effect -- but can we give up our SUV for a more fuel-efficient car? Understanding this psychological connection can lead to more effective pro-environmental policymaking.Identity and the Natural Environment examines the ways in which our sense of who we are affects our relationship with nature, and vice versa. This book brings together cutting-edge work on the topic of identity and the environment, sampling the variety and energy of this emerging field but also placing it within a descriptive framework. These theory-based, empirical studies locate environmental identity on a continuum of social influence, and the book is divided into three sections reflecting minimal, moderate, or strong social influence. Throughout, the contributors focus on the interplay between social and environmental forces; as one local activist says, "We don't know if we're organizing communities to plant trees, or planting trees to organize communities."

  

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Contents

II
1
III
25
IV
43
V
45
VI
67
VII
91
VIII
113
IX
135
XIII
205
XIV
227
XV
247
XVI
249
XVII
273
XVIII
297
XIX
317
XX
343

X
159
XI
161
XII
179

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About the author (2003)

Susan Opotow is Professor in the Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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