Environmental Psychology and Ecological Theory
This article discusses social theory for environmental psychology, ecological, psychology theory of participation, social response to environmental-pollution, environmental damage and compensation.
Environmental psychology is the study of interrelationships of human mind and behaviour with the physical environment (Daniel, 2007). Environmental psychology has focused on the interrelationship between environments and human behaviour.
According to Gifford (1997) individuals change the environment and their behaviour and experiences are changed by the environment. Furthermore, each individual‟s behaviour and experience is unique and differs from the person standing next to him/her in the same environment.
These environments could be natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments and informational environments (Veith and Arkkelin, 1995).
Environmental psychology was not fully recognized as its own field until the late 1960s when scientists began to question the tie between human behaviour and our natural and built environments.
Since its conception, the field has been committed to the development of a discipline that is both value oriented and problem oriented, prioritizing research aimed at solving complex environmental problems in the pursuit of individual well-being within a larger society (Prochasky, 1987).
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Kurt Lewin (1946) research in environmental psychology integrates the scientific goals of analysing and explaining the nature of people-environment transactions with the more practical goal of enhancing and even optimizing people‟s relationships with their everyday environments through more effective urban planning and environmental design.
According to Gifford (1997), environmental psychology is studied at three levels of analysis. The first level of analysis sorts and arranges each individual‟s occurrence of the environment according to perceptions, cognition and personality.
The next level of analysis is the collective organization of space, which consists of four aspects namely; personal space, territory, crowding and privacy. The last level of analysis is the physical settings in which individuals find themselves every day.
Ecological theories suggest that a person and his environment co-exist. More like a symbiotic relationship. A person‟s behaviour exists because of the environment they are put in.
Roger Barker was the major profounder of this theory. He examined the way in which the number and variety of behaviour settings remains remarkably constant even as institutions increased in size (Barker and Gump 1964).
Baker (1964) observed that there was no difference in the behaviour exhibited by students in large and small schools. Therefore a student in a small school took on many roles and a student in a large school selected the roles he or she was interested in taking.
Another example exists with behaviour on the plane. Sitting on a plane is fixed for the duration of the journey due to safety reasons and one can hardly change seats or move up and down as they like, as opposed to sitting in an office or sitting in a movie theatre.
If I for instance, do not like the seat given to me in the Movie Theatre or office, I can change it. I can even decide to leave.
for oil spill of 2008.
A study covering the period between 1981 and 1986, which showed that of 1,081 claims for compensation, only 124 claims were settled, 24 of the remaining unsettled claims went to court, others without record (Okonkwo, 2014).
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Theresa (2012) attributed poverty, overpopulation and greed, amongst others social ills, to be the major cause of degradation of the environment. Perceptions about the main contributors to air pollution were found to vary across socioeconomic groups.
In Kuwait people identified air pollution to be the fifth most important consequence of traffic congestion out of eight possible consequences.
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