A holistic model of sustainable development: An Indian approach to environmental psychology

R.S. Pirta
Department of Psychology
Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla

An outline of a native's cognitive model of development, ingrained in the Indian ethos, is presented here that has implications for environmental psychology. All over the world, in spite of global efforts, there were no discernible changes in the direction of sustainable patterns of production and consumption. For instance, some developmental interventions in the Himalayas created dissonance in the native's cognition, which led to the two widely debated actions of the natives of Garhwal Himalaya, the protests against the felling of green trees and the opposition of big dams. Those conflicts gave birth to a pioneer environmental movement of India the Chipko that later became the Save Himalaya Movement. In the collective consciousness of natives the development was a quest for atm-gyan or self-enlightenment but at the same time one has to aspire for sarvodaya or welfare of all following the principle of advait or no dualism. For this they had visualized a harmonious relationship of head, heart and hands signifying a positive mental state of well-being. Our research has supported the application of the Chipko's approach in at least four areas of environmental psychology: the creation of environmental consciousness, the rehabilitation of oustees, the development for humanistic policies, and the community care service.


Email the author: "Prof. R.S. Pirta" <rspirta@yahoo.co.in>


This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002