Human Behavior in the Environment


In simple terms, environment means the surroundings. It comprises of living and non-living things. Human beings and nature depend on each other for them to survive. Physical scientists define the environment into three intertwined systems that comprise of hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere. On the other hand, biologist environment consists of all the living things in the Biosphere. There are two types of environment which include the natural environment and the man-made environment (Lindenberg, 2012). The natural environment consists of water, air, noise, soil, radiation, solid waste, living space and the wildlife. The man-made environment consists of housing, aesthetics, technology, urbanization, settlement and utilities. All the environment components are referred by men as resources and are utilized for their own good. For this reason the relationship between human beings and the environment is very close. In addition, it is important to note that man enjoys a unique position in the ecosystem because of his extraordinary ability to influence the environment.

Explain how environmental cues shape behavior and provide at least one example

Environmental psychology holds the concept that people’s behavior is inclined by the atmosphere in which they live in. In the world we live in, it is very crucial to appreciate the effect that people have on the local environment, as well as the global environment. Understanding the effect will ensure that there is a decrease in negative effects brought about by urbanization. One very important way which environment influences human behavior is through cues. Cues are features of the environment that trigger an actual reaction. The environments are certainly not neutral. Each and every environment sends out cues that have an effect on behavior. In addition, environmental cues have a high influence on the normative behavior which is very significant for the social order (Lindenberg, 2012). A key example of an environmental cue is dropping litter everywhere. When people see a clean area that does not have any litter, they struggle as much as possible to ensure that the area remains clean. Alternatively, when they see a dirty area that is full of litter they care very little about leaving trash all over, this is all psychological.

How behavior can be improved to support sustainability and how this can limit negative impacts on the environment

Individual behaviors that have been acquired over the years can be modified to promote environmental sustainability. Saving energy is the role every individual. For example, it is common sense to turn off a bulb during day time. People in America have been ranked as the most horrible people as they do not know how to recycle. The amount of trash thrown away is also a lot. This mindset is very different from the mindset of the people in India. There are presence huge slums in the capital city of India, Mumbai, which its recycling industry is worth billions of dollars. Americans must be educated so as to change their mindset to embrace recycling to avoid a negative impact on the environment (Chopra, 2005). Recycling needs to be embraced by the government, private sector and also the consumers. The positive social and cultural aspect of recycling is bringing people together so as to ensure that they take care of the environment.

The other way of changing behavior and habits so as to reduce environmental impacts is by coming up with a reward program. Individuals who come up with the best environmental practice that reduce the negative impact on the environmental are supposed to be rewarded. These practices include planting trees, recycling and reuse of materials and riding bicycles to work and school. The rewards should be through tax reliefs or being given awards to recognize and appreciate their contribution to promoting environmental sustainability (Chopra, 2005).

Describe how social norms influence behavior and belief about the environment

In each and every society, it is very necessary that human beings maintain legitimate rules and social norms. Human behavior takes place in a definite environment, for example, in schools, homes, streets, workplace and so forth. In this entire context, there are key social norms that are applicable. Generally, social norms, therefore, can be defined as informal rules that are enforced in a society. In each and every environment, there are cures that influence the will to maintain the social norms. For example, if a person stumbles and falls down, people are likely to follow the norm and help the person. People behave in a different way from each other depending on their beliefs. This can have a negative effect as well as a positive effect on the environment. Examples of environmental situations that human beings have control over include crowding and pollution (Lindenberg, 2012). By influencing the norms and adding rules that have a positive mental inspiration on human beings, people can make the environment more pleasant to live on. It is thus very important to modify human behavior in order to maintain a good environment. Social norms are also very important for influencing the person’s behavior and belief. This makes it very necessary to come up with solutions that will be used in modifying behaviors and habits of the overall population.

Identify at least two possible solutions that could successfully change behavior and habits in order to lessen negative environmental impact.

Environmental based education is the best options on changing norms and behavior towards environmental sustainability. The role of environmental education is to involve the youth in projects that will promote environmental sustainability. Some of these projects include habitat restoration, forest management. There is also a project on the social environment that is used to solve problem such as abuse of drugs, child abuse and hunger. Environmental based education involves different stakeholders such environmental teachers and outside partners. Over the years, environmental education has played an important role in quality education. Educators have seen an improvement on how students think critically. This is an important aspect of minimizing the negative impact on the environment. Students have been empowered in various modules such as making decisions and being responsible. The long-term effect of environmental based education is that it has shown an improvement in academic skills which is a significant aspect of achieving lifelong success (Monroe, 2003). Having the knowledge of environmental conservation is important in minimizing environmental degradation.

Information is used to give knowledge to someone on a particular subject. When people are informed on how they are going to change behavior towards environmental sustainability, it is an important aspect of positive feedback. In other cases information can be used to explain other success models that were adopted and led to new behavior. Benefits that have been achieved from the new behavior mostly include formation of a new norm. Cultural norms are best used in marketing an idea. They are used for sharing information so as to change behavior. Using information without any other means will not make an individual adapt to new behavior (Monroe, 2003).


It is no doubt that most of the environmental issues faced today are directly linked to human behavior. There is so much that is to be done, especially on the environmental psychologist on influencing behavioral change in environmental management. The factors that threaten environmental sustainability are the main challenges psychologists need to understand so that environmental sustainability can be encouraged throughout the world. Every person has a part to play in decreasing the negative effects on the environment.


Chopra, K. R. (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: policy responses: Findings of the responses working group. Washington, U.S.A: Island Press.

Lindenberg, S. (2012). How cues in the environment affect normative behavior. Web.

Monroe, M. C. (2003). Two Avenues for Encouraging Conservation Behaviors. Human Ecology Review, 10.

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