Environmental psychology considers the relationship between people and their surroundings and according to Wikipedia, it
The trigger for considering this topic was a conversation yesterday with Caroline Wilson who is a PhD research student at Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Leicester (and formerly a lecturer in public relations).
She is studying the “potential power of PR to change people’s behaviour around the issue of recycling and other green living”. Caroline has been surprised to learn of a large body of knowledge from other disciplines that could be of use to public relations professionals in this respect.
Environmental psychologists such as Dr Doug McKenzie-Mohr have produced some interesting materials looking at Fostering Sustainable Behavior. The resources aim “to use community-based social marketing to design and evaluate programs to foster sustainable behavior.”
Caroline pointed out there is a real lack of knowledge and understanding of how public relations, and its theoretical and practical underpinnings, could contribute towards achieving public behaviour change – a key goal of environmental psychology.
Not surprising perhaps with the general image of PR as being one-way publicity or press agentry – but another reason why we need to ensure we champion the strategic benefits. Or, as Caroline is discovering, others will be filling the need that public relations could deliver.