What it means to think green

Psy­chol­o­gists urge eco-con­scious­ness

USA TODAY International Edition - - Life - 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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