EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 3, Issue 2, 2011
The intersection of evolutionary principles, human behavior and environmental sustainability
Sarah M. Johnson & Marc E. Pratarelli
Some environmentalist writers suggest that to achieve environmental sustainability people will need to reframe their value judgments about nature in nondualist terms. Nondualist ideals hold that there is no separation or distinction between ‘man and nature’. In opposition to evolutionary psychology principles, these writers also subscribe either implicitly or explicitly to the noble savage philosophical view as well as Lockean blank slate assumptions about the mind and behavior. Thus, they submit to the denial of basic human nature. In this paper, we argue that changing people’s values and attitudes about nature and our place in it will be difficult because they are necessarily economic rather than aesthetic or emotional connections to the land. In contrast, an evolutionary approach to understanding human consumptive behavior is congruent with climate-change and earth sciences evidence as well as being an empirically informed approach to consumer education in the future. Also missing from environmentalist writers’ understanding is that our Pleistocene brain was adapted for a different time and place. The reality is there were neither 6.8 billion competing consumers nor the culture of technology that today accelerates the destruction and depletion of finite natural resources.
How to cite this article:
Johnson, S. M., & Pratarelli, M. E. (2011). The intersection of evolutionary principles, human behavior and environmental sustainability. EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 3(2), 1-15.