Climate Change

7th March, 2018

Climate Change


The session first started by talking about how although climate change denial is a big hindrance to changing behaviour in response to climate change, acceptance of climate change is not necessarily enough to motivate change. For example, it was noted that behaviours and attitudes are generally hard to change. Individuals may struggle to change behaviours even if they are accepting of climate change. It was noted that this could be examined through the ideas of Theory of Planned Behaviour. For example, individuals may often feel that climate change is beyond their control (e.g., “how would my reduction in petrol really stop climate change?”), as well as may look to others for course of action (e.g., “everyone else still uses petrol”). Moreover, people may see climate change as a case of ‘sunk costs’. That is, they may perceive the damage to already have been done and this damage cannot be repaired. This sort of belief would likely limit change, even if one was accepting of the science behind climate change.

In addition, it was suggested that shared societal goals/values are often not compatible with, or as important as, the adoption of climate change. As society often emphasises success and achievement, individuals may place more importance on the pursuit of these goals than ones that concern climate change. In some cases, these pursuits may even undermine climate change. For example, it was noted that society often promotes excessive consumerism and that valued products are often not environmentally friendly. As such, it was suggested that one way to get people to change behaviours in response to climate change would be to try to have culture to emphasise the importance of pro-environmental values over other pursuits.

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