University of Notre Dame

Environmental Psychology: Western and Indigenous

The course has three foci. First, students will learn the psychology nudging people to behave in environmentally-responsible ways. We examine relevant research that has been performed within environmental psychology. Students will design their own research study and intervention. Second, students will learn about persuasive communication and employ it in writing a letter to the editor, letters to congressional representatives. Third, we also focus on self-development. Wendell Berry, ecological activist and poet, suggested that reasoning and facts are not sufficient for making the dispositional and behavioral shifts needed for living sustainably and respectfully with earth’s ecological systems and other-than-human entities. He pointed to the need for “affection.” Students will learn and practice the types of mindsets and skill sets needed for living sustainably, explore sustainable-living behaviors and build their emotional (heart-sense) intelligence as well as ecological attachment. Students link knowledge about sustainability with their own life attitudes and practices. Field trips will include visits a brief vision quest.