Fall 2021 - PSYC 366 D100

Psychology and Environmental Sustainability (3)

Class Number: 2643

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SWH 10041, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2021
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201 and PSYC 260.



A survey of some of the ways that psychological theorizing and research, and social psychology in particular, can be applied to environmental sustainability. Introduces students to some of the environmental challenges faced by contemporary humans and the psychological implications of those challenges. Students with credit for PSYC 391 Psychology and Environmental Sustainability may not take PSYC 366 for further credit.


In-person lectures on Mondays (2:30 - 5:20 pm) on campus. Other course materials, including lecture slides, readings, videos and assignments will be posted each week on Canvas.

A survey of some of the ways that psychological theorizing and research, and social and urban psychology, in particular, can be applied to environmental sustainability. This course introduces students to some of the key environmental challenges faced by contemporary humans and the psychological implications of those challenges. It will also survey research, practice, and applications of environmental sustainability from the Global South and non-WEIRD cultures.

The course will cover a range of topics including social-psychological theorizing and research on environmental sustainability; urban environments and human wellbeing; environmental challenges and their impacts; social influence, norms; materialism and consumption; sustainable happiness; environmental identity; nature connection; environmental inequality and environmental justice in WEIRD and non-WEIRD cultures; collective action; and social change.


After successful completion of this course, students will:
1. Have developed a basic understanding of climate change and other environmental problems.
2. Be able to explain multiple social psychological theories (related to social norms, well-being, identity, cultural values, power, social inequality, etc.) and describe existing evidence for their predictions.
3. Be able to apply social psychological theories to environmental issues, and critique research and approaches to sustainability using social psychology.
4. Understand and be able to articulate reciprocal relationships between how humans relate to other humans and how humans relate to the rest of the natural world.
5. Be able to utilize climate action research for developing behavior change, and be able to articulate a detailed vision of what a sustainable future could be like.
6. Be able to critique approaches to sustainability using justice/equity, and cultural lenses.
7. Have an increased sense of agency in making their own positive contribution to addressing environmental problems.


  • Weekly Reflections: 10%
  • Factsheet: 10%
  • Proposal: 10%
  • Midterm Exam: 25%
  • Term Paper: 20%
  • Final Exam: 25%



Anuradha Rao (2002). One Earth: People of Color protecting the planet. Orca Books. Available for purchase as an ebook or pdf through Orca Books (https://www.orcabook.com/One-Earth-P4776.aspx) and at other online booksellers.

Other required weekly readings will be made available through Canvas, internet links, or through online journals.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.