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Human Nature and Environmentally-Responsible Behavior

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal Social Issues, p.56- (2000)



This article constitutes a search for a people-oriented approach to encouraging environmentally responsible behavior. It attempts to provide a source of motivations, reduce the corrosive sense of helplessness, and generatesolutions to environmental problems that do not undermine the quality of life of the people who are affected. The altruism-centered approach currently popular in the academic literature, by contrast, is seen as contributing to helplessness and focusing on sacrifice rather than quality-of-life-enhancing solutions. An alternative, the Reasonable Person Model, offers an evolutionary/cognitive/motivational approach to understanding human nature.