Volume 76, Issue 1 p. 136-149
Original Article

Towards a Psychology of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus: Costs and Opportunities

Stacia J. Dreyer

Corresponding Author

Stacia J. Dreyer

Arizona State University

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stacia J. Dreyer, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, PO Box 875603 Tempe, AZ 85287-5603 [e-mail: [email protected]].Search for more papers by this author
Tim Kurz

Tim Kurz

University of Bath

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Annayah M.B. Prosser

Annayah M.B. Prosser

University of Bath

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Abigail Abrash Walton

Abigail Abrash Walton

Antioch University

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Kelley Dennings

Kelley Dennings

Center for Biological Diversity

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Ilona McNeill

Ilona McNeill

University of Melbourne

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Deborah A. Saber

Deborah A. Saber

University of Maine

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Janet K. Swim

Janet K. Swim

The Pennsylvania State University

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First published: 10 December 2019
Citations: 8

This article is part of the Special Issue “Sustainable consumption: The psychology of individual choice, identity, and behavior;” Matthew B Ruby, Iain Walker and Hanne M Watkins (Special Issue Editors). For a full listing of Special Issue papers, see: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.2020.76.issue-1/issuetoc.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists (SASP), and the University of Pennsylvania for hosting the Psychology of Sustainable Consumption Small Group Meeting. Our call to action for psychology researchers to become involved in FEW nexus research emerged from a FEW nexus workshop at this meeting which was co-led by the first two authors of this article.

Abstract

Scholars, government scientific research institutions, and public policy-making entities are increasingly focusing on environmental issues from a food-energy-water (FEW) nexus perspective. This nexus represents the interconnection of these three systems, which are essential to human life. The FEW nexus is inherently and inescapably interdisciplinary. However, to date, there have been relatively few academic contributions to understanding the nexus from the social sciences, particularly from psychology. In this article, we suggest an extended framing of the nexus (food-energy-water x human) to explicitly recognize how human actions in the form of both consumption practices and population size and distribution impact the FEW nexus. We outline important contributions that psychology researchers could make in FEW nexus focused research teams. In doing so, we acknowledge difficulties and potential risks for psychology researchers engaging in FEW nexus based research, but suggest that, while such difficulties can create barriers, they can also present opportunities for psychologists.