Human Behaviour and Environmental Sustainability

Social and behavioural research is crucial for securing environmental sustainability and improving human living situations. The five general driving forces of global environmental change are: population, affluence, technology, institutions, and culture; these all have critical transitions with the evolution of human society. There is a need of multidisciplinary collaboration and desirable developments in environmental psychology. Environmental sustainability is a key issue for human societies throughout the 21st century’s world. All countries need to secure good quality of environment in the short and in the long term of natural resources, ecosystems, and the diversity of plant and animal species, including the human living environment. The term “sustainable development” has been used to denote social, economic and environmental dimensions of our future survival. In this issue, we focus on environmental sustainability and its relation to human quality of life. Our focus is on positive and negative qualities of human living environments including nature for people and people for nature.

In view of the general issues and the specific topics discussed above, the social and behavioural sciences have a challenging research agenda, covering environmental risk judgment and responses to various stressors, the determinants of environmentally significant behaviours, the individual and social effects of different environmental conditions, and the design and evaluation of effective behaviour change programs for safeguarding environmental resources. For society at large, problem analysis, policy decision making and behavioural intervention programs are particularly important with regard to climate change as resulting from forced global warming (see Lorenzoni, Pidgeon, & O’Connor, 2005). Without significant technical and/or behavioural changes, further population growth and increasing affluence will intensify current motorization and thus the associated emissions of greenhouse gases. In the present journal issue not all major topics of sustainability research could be discussed. One topic deserving more research attention is environmental decision making—a crucial task in managing any commons dilemma. Organizational decision making may be less balanced because of power relations and the political and psychological need to stick to early-adopted development strategies. Focal points for environmental decision research are problem definition, multi-attribute scenario evaluation, multi-party decision making, and long-term risk judgment. Behavioral and/or environmental changes may significantly affect human well-being, and this can be evaluated in terms of specific changes in human quality of life. Quality of life may in turn be evaluated against the background of existing taxonomies of human needs and values, such that sustainable development is linked to the Brundtland (WCED, 1987, p. 43) admonition to meet the needs of the present without compromising future needs fulfillment.

As an enduring societal problem, environmental sustainability covers urban living environments, natural resources, wildlife and recreation areas, and—in an overarching way—the ambient climate and weather conditions for all forms of life. To ensure environmental security and sustainability, the overall policy goal certainly must be to reverse the trend of gradual environmental deterioration, locally as well as globally.

By – Dr. Rekha Dhanai
Department of Agriculture
Magazine (YouthRainBow)- Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital
Uttaranchal College of Education
College Of Nursing UCBMSH

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