Psychology has promoted a multitude of theories, diagnosis and interventions for nearly every cognitive and emotional problem humanity has ever encountered in the history of our species. Unfortunately, it has not often considered human ailments in terms of environmental factors (only psychological ones related to internal thoughts and emotions as they relate to the self and others) and has depended on purely scientific principles to understand behavior and prescribe treatment protocols. This explains why psychology has not been interested in the tendency for humans to distance from their habitat.
Psychology needs to explore and understand the intricate relationship between humans and nature before it can adequately address the complex problems humanity faces. Many behavioral theories are antiquated and have no relevance to modern society. Others are limited to internal emotional and cognitive concerns and how these play out in interpersonal relationships. The tendency to diagnose individuals with elaborate disorders or illnesses, removes to varying degrees, the individual from the responsibility of owning their dysfunctions and being responsible for attending to them. Labeling also frames the context of a person’s behavior that exudes a sense of permanence and rigidity, thereby, making necessary changes harder to attain by having defined the person’s behavior as content (typically an unchangeable state) instead of a context (a state of possibility).
In the chapter on psychology, I described a number of diagnostic metaphors that could explain the impetus for humans to distance from and lay waste to their habitat. These behavioral manifestations should be studied extensively for their validity and those that are found to be relevant should be remedied before humankind destroys itself or renders irreparable damage to the biosphere.
The study of psychology, including eco-psychology, green psychology and eco-feminism, should be basic components of educational curricula that should be taught at all age levels at increasing levels of sophistication. This strategy would promote: healthy-self-esteem, the capability of attending to the activities of daily living and resolving conflicts and difficulties successfully, the ability to interact effectively with other people and the attainment of a healthy relationship with the natural world.
Psychology can be an important instrument in helping resolve individual problems and conflict with others if applied within the larger context of systems theory that includes the human-nature relationship as the basis for understanding and resolving human and global concerns.
Eco-psychology, deep ecology or green psychology as they are now referred to, comprise an extension of psychology that gives much needed attention to the human-nature relationship that includes all facets of nature and society that are interrelated. By applying the concepts of this more integrated approach, we can create a new paradigm from which to understand and resolve many of our current problems and be enabled to anticipate significant issues that will influence our future.