In this chapter we examine how the physical environment effects wellbeing, and how our wellbeing effects our responses to the environment. We begin by identifying which aspects of the physical environment can enhance our individual and collective wellbeing, and how we can use this knowledge to optimise flourishing. Evidence is summarised for the health and wellbeing benefits of the natural environment, and we identify which features of the built environment maximise human thriving. We then examine how the science of wellbeing can be harnessed to protect nature, maintain diversity and healthy ecosystems and mitigate climate change. Building on the positive psychology principle of Identifying what’s working not only what’s wrong, we provide case studies of successful initiatives to promote the sustainability of local and global ecosystems. When sustainable action is fuelled by positive motivations of care, compassion, pride and love it can inspire others, and provide the ultimate opportunity to express our humanity. We describe how the science of positive psychology and behaviour change can be harnessed to minimise the human impact on global warming to ensure the healthy survival of our planet into the future. We describe the value of Indigenous knowledge and youth leadership in the road ahead.
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Download transcripts of the lectures:
1: From Moral to Market Sentiments
2. From Credit Crisis to Resilience
3. From Covid Crisis to Renaissance
4. From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity
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How physical surroundings affect our wellbeing
The natural environment
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Does nature promote healing?
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Benefits of green surroundings for low-income groups
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The built environment
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The global environment
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How positive psychology can contribute to a flourishing environment
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- Aaron Weidman, Jessica Tracy & Andrew Elliot (2016) The benefits of following your pride: Authentic pride promotes achievement. Journal of Personality, 84(5), 607-622.
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- Susan Jacobson, Nia Morales, Beida Chen, Rebecca Soodeen, Michael Moulton & Eakta Jain (2019) Love or Loss: Effective message framing to promote environmental conservation. Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 18(3), 252-265.
- Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone (2012) Active hope: How to face the mess we’re in without going crazy. New World Library.
- Sonja Geiger, Paul Grossman & Ulf Schrader (2019) Mindfulness and sustainability: correlation or causation? Current Opinion in Psychology, 28, 23-27.
- Daniel Fischer, Laura Stanszus, Sonja Geiger, Paul Grossman & Ulf Schrader (2017) Mindfulness and sustainable consumption: A systematic literature review of research approaches and findings. Journal of Cleaner Production, 162, 544-558. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652617311769
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- Stefan Pfattheicher, Claudia Sassenrath & Simon Schindler (2016) Feelings for the suffering of others and the environment: Compassion fosters proenvironmental tendencies. Environment and Behavior, 48(7), 929-945.
- John Cook, Naomi Oreskes, Peter Doran, William Anderegg, Bart Verheggen, Ed Maibach, Stuart Carlton, Stephan Lewandowsky, Andrew Skuce, Sarah Green, Dana Nuccitelli, Peter Jacobs, Mark Richardson, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting & Ken Rice (2016) Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 048002.
Financial case for sustainability
- International Labour Organisation (ILO) (2018) Greening with Jobs: World Employment Social Outlook 2018.
- Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) (2019) Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience.
- Mary Robinson (2018) Climate justice: Hope, resilience, and the fight for a sustainable future. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
- UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Reasons to be hopeful
- 2040 movie
- Ruth Maclean (2018) The great African regreening: millions of ‘magical’ new trees bring renewal. The Guardian, 16 August 2018.
- Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2018) Singapore’s Voluntary National Review Report to the 2018 UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Republic of Singapore.
- Sustainable Singapore (2015) Our Home, Our Environment, Our Future: Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015. Republic of Singapore, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources & Ministry of National Development.
- Climate Reality Project (2017) The Alliance for Climate Protection®: Five Sustainable Cities Making a Difference for the Planet.
- Zander Venter, Kristin Aunan, Sourangsu Chowdhury & Jos Lelieveld (2020) COVID-19 lockdowns cause global air pollution declines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(32), 18984-18990.
Tanjena Rume & SM Diar-Ul Islam (2020) Environmental effects of COVID-19 pandemic and potential strategies of sustainability. Heliyon, e04965.
Can indigenous thinking save the world?
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- Tyson Yunkaporta (2019) Sand talk: How Indigenous thinking can save the world. Text Publishing.
Young people are the future
- Nicole Ardoin, Alison Bowers, Noelle Wyman Roth & Nicole Holthuis (2018) Environmental education and K-12 student outcomes: A review and analysis of research. The Journal of Environmental Education, 49(1), 1-17.
- UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- FridaysForFuture (FFF)
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