President’s Column

W. Bruce Walsh provides a view into the many exciting events and topics of this year's Annual APA convention in Washington, DC, including the division name change and electronic voting ballots

By W. Bruce Walsh, PhD

I want to bring you up to date on some current issues and also discuss the APA Convention program. Given the name change for Division 34 (Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology), it makes sense to revise statements throughout the bylaws that read Population and Environmental Psychology to read Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology. For example, Article 1, 2(a) reads to promote research, teaching and services in the general field of population and environmental psychology. The change would revise this to read environmental, population and conservation psychology. You will be asked to approve or disapprove of this change by an electronic vote. Those of you who do not have an email address noted with Division 34 and the American Psychological Association will receive a mail ballot from Keith Cooke. Please take the time to respond to this needed bylaws change and revision.

In addition, the electronic ballot will include a brief one item survey question. We are attempting to assess the makeup of the Division and in this context asking each of you to report your primary field(s) of work, teaching, research. This may be done by checking one or more of the primary fields in Division 34 (conservation, environmental, and/or population psychology). This will give us a data base (with limitations) that to some extent will be descriptive of our membership and hopefully facilitate our discussion regarding other issues.

Also there is another paragraph in the bylaws that needs to be discussed by the membership. This is under Article 5 (Nominations and Elections) and reads as follows: After any two consecutive elections for officers of the Division in which either population or environmental psychology candidates are elected, then the following election will post only candidates from the opposite background from those two consecutive elections.

I think it best that we discuss this issue at the Executive Committee meeting and the Business Meeting at the APA Convention in Washington in August, 2011. Thus, if you are attending the convention, make it a point to attend the Business Meeting which is scheduled for Thursday, August 4 at 4 p.m.

In the not too distant future, the American Psychological Association’s members and student affiliates will travel to Washington, DC, for the 119th Annual APA Convention. Division 34 has a full program with substantive sessions from Thursday, August 4 to Saturday, August 6. A summary of the Division’s convention highlights follows, keeping in mind that APA can schedule changes between now and the convention.

The Division’s programming begins on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. with a poster session that features the work of 11 different authors who are presenting on a variety of experimental and applied topics relevant to environmental, population, and conservation psychology. The current Division 34 President, Dr. Bruce Walsh, gives his presidential address at 11 a.m., “Person–Environment Psychology, Work and Well-Being.” The Division’s first symposium, “Greening Your Classes: Incorporating Environmental Sustainability across the Psychology Curriculum” begins at noon and features work by Drs. Brook, Scott, Manning, Doherty, and Amel. Five roundtable discussions are scheduled at 3 p.m. focusing on population, environmental, ecopsychology, conservation, and sustainability issues with Drs. Wilmoth, Manning, Clayton, Doherty, and Handwerker serving as facilitators. The Division’s Business Meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Highlights of the Business Meeting include making our student research award to Marjory Mayfield (Undergraduate Award), announcing the winner of the Newman–Proshansky Award for 2011 (Dr. Nancy Adler), discussing bylaw issues, and other Division business. Also at the Business Meeting, Dr. Janet Swim will officially become President of the Division for 2011–12 and we will then meet our next officers-elect. The Division Business Meeting is open to all members.

Friday’s program begins at 8 a.m. with a paper session focusing on perspectives from environmental and conservation psychology. This is followed by a symposium, “The People Make the Place: Population as Social Environment” beginning at noon and featuring the work of Courtenay Barrett, Ho Lamuyiu, and Drs. Gottfredson and Miller. An invited address, “Attitudes toward Climate Engineering and Environmental Policy in the United States: Results of a National Survey” by Dr. Greg Wilmoth will follow at 11 a.m. The second symposium of the day at 4 p.m. (“Human Manufactured Environments”) will feature Drs. Nettles, Wilmoth, and Tobach and Brittany Bloodheart and Beth Karlin.

A paper session begins the Division’s program for Saturday at 8 a.m. focusing on issues in environmental, population, and conservation psychology. This is followed at 9 a.m. by a symposium, “Celebrating Forests: Recognizing the John Weeks Act Centennial and the U.N. International Year of Forests” featuring Drs. Swim and Winter and Liesel Hall. An invited address by Past President Alan Stewart, “A Program for Enhancing Weather and Climate Literacy: A Progress Review of Four Years of Teaching Science Teachers about Masters of Disaster” is scheduled at 10 a.m. followed by a symposium (“Chinese Adaptions to the One Child Family: From Adolescence to Young Adulthood”) chaired by Dr. Toni Falbo. The presenters for this symposium include Johnna Jones, Kevin Smith, Xiaochen Chen, and Dr. Gu. The third symposium of the day at 12 p.m., “Post-War Destruction and Construction in the U.S.: Shaping a New Landscape and Way of Life” is chaired by Dr. Juhasz and features Te-sheng Huang, Lynn Paxson, and Robert Flanagan. An interesting invited address by Dr. Susan Clayton follows at 1 p.m. entitled “Conservation Psychology: Using Psychological Tools to Address Environmental Challenges.” The final program event for Division 34 will highlight Dr. Gary Evans as the Proshansky-Newman Award recipient. The title of his address is “The Environment of Childhood Poverty.”

The APA Convention always provides energy, stimulation, and information for the range of our professional work and activities. This year will likely provide the same kind of excitement. I look forward to seeing you in Washington.