USA TODAY International Edition

What it means to think green

Psychologi­sts urge eco-consciousn­ess

- By Sharon Jayson USA TODAY

Thosewhoma­ke human behavior their business aim tomake living green your business.

Armed with new research into what makes some people environmen­tally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychologi­cal Associatio­n is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivit­y that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet.

“We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do,” says Yale University psychologi­st Alan Kazdin, associatio­n president. “We know what messages willwork andwhatwil­l not.”

During a four-daymeeting that begins today in Boston, an expected 16,000 attendees will hear presentati­ons, including studies that explore how people experience the environmen­t, their attitudes about climate change and what social barriers prevent conservati­on of resources. Among the yet-unpublishe­d findings: uWalking outside rather than inside — even for just 15 minutes — makes you feel happier, more energetic and more protective of the environmen­t, found two studies involving 220 students conducted by psychologi­sts at CarletonUn­iversity inOttawa. Researcher Elizabeth Nisbet suggests the findings have broader implicatio­ns forwell-being and mental health.

“People knowoutsid­e is going to feel much better for thembut underpredi­ct howhappy they’re going to feel

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