I recently attended the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans. (I know, tough life.) What made this conference distinctive, and convinced me to attend, was the day-long preconference devoted to a discussion of how psychology can contribute to sustainability. (The preconference was called SPSPSP.)
In a great example of the integration of academic research with social concerns, we spent the morning listening to each other talk about research on such topics as, how do we get people to care more about environmental issues? What are the social consequences of environmentalism? And how can sustainable behavior be encouraged?
We then, however, spent the afternoon looking at ways in which people are working to make New Orleans more sustainable. We listened to an interesting presentation from an entrepreneur (and liberal arts college graduate!) who works with local businesses to help them become “greener”, and also to make “green” be profitable for them. They can be part of a Green Card program that helps them connect with customers who want to incorporate their values.
Of course, we had to also get around using green transportation — in this case, pedicabs operated by a squad of cheerful and strong cyclists.
Many of us went back and dined at one of the green restaurants that evening. It was an excellent way to walk the talk about sustainability!