Human Behavior and Environment WEEK 4 Essay

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Impact of Human Behavior on the Environment
Renee Fisk
PSY/460
October 31, 2014
Meredith Wood-Edman
Impact of Human Behavior on the Environment
Every aspect of the surrounding world can shape human behavior. It can be as simple as the furniture arrangement in a certain room, which can influence the manner in which individuals interact. On a larger scale, the characteristic personality make-up of the people living in individual countries is developed by nature and the type of environment that they are submerged in over time (Matthew, 2001). This is not unlike racial differences affected by an environment to which a given race is subjected over many generations. For example, climate can presumably influence temperament. When in danger of freezing, individuals feel insecure and they must make constant effort to remain warm. In cold regions, inhabitants must plan ahead and hoard food, collect firewood and fashion warm clothes and shoes to endure the winter. These hostile and scarce environments force individuals to become aggressive and aggressiveness necessitates artificial moral control (Matthew, 2001). “People in such environments develop linear intelligence, and they become practical; their approach to the environment being characterized by one of aggression, competition, exploitation and manipulation” (Matthew, 2001, para. 5). It has been proven that that animals have behavioral needs related to their natural habitat. For instance, a polar bear that snatches fish from water has a need to perform those movements related to catching a fish. If that polar bear were to be moved into captivity and deprived of the opportunity to perform that instinctive action, it would refuse to eat the food it was given – showing signs of behavioral starvation. Other captive animals alike exhibit abnormal behavior like compulsions (Matthew, 2001). “Increase in population density beyond the optimum point is also part of alteration of the environment and this leads to population stress causing aggression and breakdown of behavior” (Matthew, 2001, para. 8). Many studies have been conducted on the influence of urbanization on human behavior as well. Under artificial and overpopulated urban conditions, the instinctual behavior patterns of human beings seem to break down. The incidence of mental illness increases with urbanization, and in the city centers there is a higher incidence of schizophrenia. It seems that approximately four fifths of the population of cities suffers from debilitative pathological symptoms (Matthew, 2001). “The increasing violence of mothers towards children reflected in high rates of baby battering and the rising rates of divorce and illegitimacy point to the breakdown of instinctive behavior patterns in human beings” (para. 9). Urbanization is not only causing issues in behavioral changes worldwide, but those behaviors are in turn contributing to the depletion of non-renewable resources and profound detriment to every inhabitant of Earth’s environments, both natural and constructed. Over generations, focus has shifted to approaches that create an environment that humans can successfully live in without doing any damage to the natural environment. This has been given the term “sustainability”, and it is the goal of environmental psychologists, scientists and other proactive members of the up and coming “green” movement. However, they simply cannot create such a world on their own. “Humans … tend to default to the lowest common denominator of behavior when it comes to environmentalism “(Holmes, 2012, para. 6). It just tends to be natural for our kind to follow the path of least resistance, and everyone is not yet on board to reach the same goal. However, “if a person sees their neighbors, family members or friends recycling, they may begin to question their own behavior and adapt accordingly” (para. 8). This is best exemplified in the initial introduction of recycling in the 1980s; where it was seen as a confusing…