Raymond De Young, PhD, is a broadly trained psychologist, planner, and engineer. He serves as an Associate Professor of Environmental Psychology and Planning at SEAS, an Associate Professor in the Program in the Environment (PitE), a Faculty Associate at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, and a Faculty Affiliate for the Graham Sustainability Institute. His research focus is on the process of re-localization, a response to emerging biophysical limits and the consequences of having deeply disrupted the Earth's ecosystems. De Young applies conservation and environmental psychology principles to the challenge of helping people to envision and adopt pragmatic behavioral responses that support an urgent transition to a life lived within local resource limits. Despite what for some people is a dismal forecast, his work is decidedly hopeful. He is described as neither an optimist nor pessimist when it comes to human behavior, but rather an idealist without illusions.
His current work includes both theoretical and empirical research on (1) helping people to pre-familiarize themselves with the behavioral apsects of the coming resource downshift, (2) motivating environmental stewardship and voluntary simplicity using intrinsic motivation and innate satisfactions and (3) using nature to restore the mental vitality needed for responding to and coping with the lean and difficult yet exciting times ahead. Two current projects include examining the psychological foundations of behavioral aesthetics and behavioral entrepreneurship, and the promotion of voluntary simplicity.