Spring 2021 - PSYC 366 D100

Psychology and Environmental Sustainability (3)

Class Number: 2068

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 3:20 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.


Course Times

Thursday’s 230-330pm, class will be live and online.  You will be expected to be logged in at that time each week.  Remaining content will not be live, but recorded.

The course will provide students with an understanding of the many ways in which social psychological theorizing and research can be applied to our understanding of environmental sustainability. In addition, the course serves to introduce students to a range of environmental challenges faced by contemporary humans. Topics include social influence, norms, persuasion, materialism and consumption, sustainable happiness, environmental identity, nature connection, environmental inequality and environmental justice, 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 (for example, knowing that human-caused climate is happening, as well as its causes and consequences). 
  2. Be able to explain multiple social psychological theories (related to social norms, well-being, identity, power and inequality, etc.) and describe existing evidence for their predictions.
  3. Be able to apply social psychological theories to environmental issues.
  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 critique approaches to sustainability using social psychology.
  6. Be able to critique approaches to sustainability using a justice/equity lens.
  7. Be able to articulate a detailed vision of what a sustainable future could be like. 
  8. Have an increased sense of agency in making their own positive contribution to addressing environmental problems


  • Tentative Breakdown
  • Short Paper: 4%
  • Bi-weekly quizzes: 30%
  • Peer Reviews: 10%
  • Paper 2 Proposal: 6%
  • Final Paper: 35%
  • Short assignments, including in class 15%
  • There will be no exams in this offering of the course.



Required readings will be made available through Canvas, internet links, or through online journals, and will be accessible at no cost (as least for SFU students).

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 spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).