In real talk realtalk

Real Talk: I'm a Conservation Psychologist

Hey guys! This is my Real Talk series where I interview real people about their experiences and situations. Today I'm talking with Bri from Dr of What, a blog that follows Bri's journey as a second year conservation psychology PhD student from Australia.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Bri and due to my love of studying, adventuring, and conservation I started my own blog a little over a year ago. I have loved the blogging experience so far, especially being able to connect with other bloggers from all around the world.

What made you decide to study conservation psychology?

For me finding conservation psychology has been a long journey and it has taken me along time to realize that it is my passion & the field that I want my career to be in. I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology and went through most of those four years changing my mind about what I wanted to do after (clinical psychologist, health psychologist etc.). I also contemplated changing degrees into journalism or teaching. Basically I was all over the place, but when I started my honours year I followed my heart and choose a conservation psychology topic (I had always been interested in animals & the environment). During honours I fell in love with research and decided a PhD was for me, it combined my passions of psychology, conservation, research, teaching & writing!

What does conservation psychology mean?

Simplistically, conservation psychology is the study of how humans help or hinder the environment. It uses all elements of psychology (behaviour, knowledge, attitude, personality, connection to nature etc.) to understand the complex relationship between humans and the environment.

Why does the world have a need for conservation psychology?

Great question! Conservation psychology is a relatively new field, but it is becoming increasingly important. Basically, due to the rapid destruction of the environmental it is essential to have an holistic approach to conservation that includes many fields of research. Typically much of the research is done in biology & ecology, which is of course necessary, but as psychology is the study of humans (well more specifically the human mind), and it is human behaviours that are contributing to the environmental crisis, conservation psychology is essential.

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve with your research?

My research is on ecotourism, and how we can use tourism to promote conservation. I focus predominantly on people’s attitudes, knowledge, and importantly behaviour towards sharks. I hope to ensure that ecotourism is conducted in an ethical and responsible way, and most importantly want to determine how to use tourism to change people’s behaviours. In the future I would love to continue to research in the marine ecotourism area.

What can people do to do better by the environment?

There are so many things that people need to do to lessen their impact on the environment. But, I always try to teach people that small changes make a big difference. Some small behaviours include: going meat free for one day a week, not purchasing plastic bottles or straws, picking up rubbish off the beach, choosing appropriate & ethical tourism options, and of course there are so many other things aswell.

What do you want people to know about  being a PhD student?

I love to show people what us PhD students actually do, because I think most people actually have no idea (I know I didn’t before I started), which is why I created my blog. I want people to know that working in research is such a great option, because it allows you to study something you are really interested in and can give you the flexibility to travel & explore (check out my blog for more insight into this!).

Bri is the author of Dr Of What and is from Australia. Connect with her on the platforms below.

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