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Hardcover | Out of Print | 360 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 3 color photos, 2 tables | July 2012 | ISBN: 9780262017862
Paperback | $34.00 Short | £27.95 | 360 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 3 color photos, 2 tables | July 2012 | ISBN: 9780262517782
eBook | $34.00 Short | July 2012 | ISBN: 9780262306232
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Science, Totems, and the Technological Species


We need nature for our physical and psychological well-being. Our actions reflect this when we turn to beloved pets for companionship, vacation in spots of natural splendor, or spend hours working in the garden. Yet we are also a technological species and have been since we fashioned tools out of stone. Thus one of this century's central challenges is to embrace our kinship with a more-than-human world—"our totemic self"—and integrate that kinship with our scientific culture and technological selves.

This book takes on that challenge and proposes a reenvisioned ecopsychology. Contributors consider such topics as the innate tendency for people to bond with local place; a meaningful nature language; the epidemiological evidence for the health benefits of nature interaction; the theory and practice of ecotherapy; Gaia theory; ecovillages; the neuroscience of perceiving natural beauty; and sacred geography. Taken together, the essays offer a vision for human flourishing and for a more grounded and realistic environmental psychology.

About the Editors

Peter H. Kahn, Jr., is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. Kahn and Hasbach are coeditors of Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species (MIT Press, 2012).

Patricia H. Hasbach is a licensed clinical psychotherapist in private practice in Eugene, Oregon, and an adjunct faculty member at Lewis and Clark College and Antioch University Seattle. Kahn and Hasbach are coeditors of Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species (MIT Press, 2012).

Table of Contents

  • Ecopsychology
  • Ecopsychology
  • Science, Totems, and the Technological Species
  • edited by Peter H. Kahn, Jr., and Patricia H. Hasbach
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • ©
  • 2012
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • MIT Press books may be purchased at special quantity discounts for business or sales promotional use. For information, please email or write to Special Sales Department, The MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142.
  • This book was set in Sabon by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed on recycled paper and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Ecopsychology : science, totems, and the technological species / edited by Peter H. Kahn, Jr. and Patricia H. Hasbach.
  •  p. cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index
  • ISBN 978-0-262-01786-2 (hbk. : alk. paper)—ISBN 978-0-262-51778-2 (pbk. : alk. paper)
  • 1. Nature—Psychological aspects. 2. Environmental psychology. I. Kahn, Peter H.  II. Hasbach, Patricia H.
  • BF353.5.N37E264 2012
  • 155.9′1—dc23
  • 2012002289
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • About the Contributors ix
  • Introduction to Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species 1
  • Peter H. Kahn, Jr., and Patricia H. Hasbach
  • 1 The Topophilia Hypothesis: Ecopsychology Meets Evolutionary Psychology 23
  • Scott Donald Sampson
  • 2 A Nature Language 55
  • Peter H. Kahn, Jr., Jolina H. Ruckert, and Patricia H. Hasbach
  • 3 What Is Ecopsychology? A Radical View 79
  • Andy Fisher
  • 4 Ecotherapy 115
  • Patricia H. Hasbach
  • 5 Building the Science Base: Ecopsychology Meets Clinical Epidemiology 141
  • Howard Frumkin
  • 6 Ecovillages: Information Tools and Deeply Sustainable Living 173
  • Lisa Nathan
  • 7 Can Architecture Become Second Nature? An Emotion-Based Approach to Nature-Oriented Architecture 195
  • Yannick Joye
  • 8 Psychological Discontent: Self and Science on Our Symbiotic Planet 219
  • Bruce Scofield and Lynn Margulis
  • 9 Psychoterratic Conditions in a Scientific and Technological World 241
  • Glenn Albrecht
  • 10 Beauty and the Brain 265
  • Laura Sewall
  • 11 Sacred Geography 285
  • Wade Davis
  • Afterword 309
  • Peter H. Kahn, Jr., and Patricia H. Hasbach
  • Name Index 323
  • Subject Index 335


“The essays contained in Ecopsychology are the benchmark from which all subsequent elaborations of the discipline will proceed. The introduction and the afterword, by Peter Kahn and Paticia Hasbach, neatly summarize ecopsychology’s history, achievements, and challenges. The book does not propose regression to romantic, pre-technological view of nature but rather the use of modern empirical science to forge a fusion between our natural love of the earth, its health, and our own—physical and spiritual. This is the canonical text of a new and exciting discipline.”
Jack Turner, author of The Abstract Wild
“By bringing so many thoughtful and provocative thinkers together, Peter Kahn and Patricia Hasbach have prescribed a 21st century human-nature reunion through which individuals, families, and communities offer and receive the gifts of nature; a future in which, as a species, we no longer feel alone; and a world where life returns.”
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods
“This remarkable collection of stunningly important papers remind us of our deep evolutionary, biological and emotional connection to the natural world. Our species, Homo sapiens, undoubtedly the most intelligent and powerful species on Earth, must revere our creator, Nature. Nature nourishes and we must nourish Nature and responsibly embrace our responsibilities to ensure the future of all life on this delicate planet.”
Donald Johanson, Professor and Founding Director, Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University