This article considers the role occupational therapy can play in sustaining earth’s resources, and what the barriers to people recycling may be. The ability to carry out an occupation can be impacted by climate change, and occupations themselves can also affect climate change by either contributing to or helping preventing it.
Where acceptable to the client, occupational therapists should encourage occupations to be achieved using environmentally sound methods. The occupational therapist may need to work with professionals who have knowledge int his area since it not an area of expertise for OTs themselves. The authors suggest using the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) as a good starting framework for occupational therapists who wish to incorporate an environmental perspective in their interventions.
Some aspects of MOHO and the ways they influence sustainable practice are:
- Volition -personal values / obligations to behave in particular way. Societal values also affect eg pressure to recycle in the neighbourhood or not. Interests influence whether activity carried out or not; having fun increases the motivation to do it.
- Habituation – habits and routines are difficult to change (both not switching a light off and always switching a light off when leaving a room) and prevent people from acting in environmentally-positive way even when they are motivated to do so.
- Environment – can promote environmentally-positive actions eg availability of recycling bins or public transport. The environment may restrict disabled people from acting in a sustainable way, but further research is needed on this.
Wagman P (2014) ‘The Model of Human Occupation’s usefulness in relation to sustainable development’ British Journal of Occupational Therapy 77(3) 165-167