Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Environmental psychology, Race-Psychological aspects, Racism, Ecofeminism, Environmental justice, Ecopsychology, Race


While ecopsychology has brought critical attention to the relationship between the natural environment and the human psyche, very little has been written about how race and racism shape our experience of the natural world. This qualitative study asked the following central question: How are race and racism relevant to ecopsychology in theory and practice? Twelve semistructured interviews were conducted with a racially diverse group of ecopsychologists, environmental justice activists and spiritual leaders. Interview data emphasized the importance of employing a broad definition of ecopsychology that encompasses not only the relationship between psyche and nature, but the relationship between psyche, nature and society. The findings also suggested that in order to address race and racism in practice, applied ecopsychology should not focus on an individual therapy model, but instead turn to group and community level interventions such as urban agriculture and green jobs. The study's findings point to a need for ecopsychology to critically examine its own whiteness, expand its analysis on how racism and white supremacy are linked to the ecological crisis, and to ally itself with people of color working towards similar goals.




iii, 97 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 85-90)

Limited Access until August 2017