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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Global warming has become an existential concern for our own and the planet’s future. As developmental psychologists, the authors are interested in pro-environmental behavior at the individual level, believing that the societal changes needed to address this issue require changes at the individual level. In this chapter, the authors frame environmental issues as moral issues to the extent that how people think about, react to, and interact in the environment reflect moral values such as caring. Consequently, the authors explore how people’s moral attitudes, thinking, emotions, and behavior around environmental issues form and change over the course of development. They also investigate how developing experiences with the natural environment can influence its importance to the self and in identity formation. Finally, the authors consider that cultural context matters; that attitudes and behaviors toward the environment and how they develop depend on the culture in which we are raised and that what we currently know about the development of environmentalism in not likely to extend much beyond mainstream cultures in Western, industrialized countries.

Keywords: environmentalism, cognitive development, emotions, self and identity, culture

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