Speaker: Vincent Schutt of Environmentum
Written by: Esha & Sheena Jain
Vincent Schutt, the director and co-founder of Enviromentum took a remarkably appealing approach when discussing the impact of individual action to climate change. He focused on 3 main principles, which included: what best represents your values in life; what effects of climate change concerns you and finally what steps do you currently take to aid in mitigating climate change. The intention of the exercise was to illustrate there is no need to worry about the logistics regarding environmental concerns; as it only brings upon a sense of impending doom and uncontrollable fear for what the future holds. He suggested that rather the emphasis be placed on your values so that one can take more actions based on these values. This method prevents one from enforcing their views upon others. Instead, it assists individuals in discovering what is important to them, which allows them to connect their behaviors to their values. This strategy permits individuals to discover their own motivation to make a change.
- How can communicating the importance of climate change be more effective, such that individuals will want to take action? (Where do the discrepancies lie? – what can be done to change this?)
Sander van der Linden, et al, reviewed psychological research regarding climate change communication. 5 discoveries were made:
- People are more likely to respond to personal experience than to abstract analysis. This is problematic as climate change is described in statistically abstract terminology. Perhaps if the information was translated into relatable personal experiences, people may have a better understanding.
- Motivating individuals to take action is difficult. Therefore rewarding the community norms can encourage pro-environmental behavior.
- Climate change can seem like an issue that is distant in time and space, thus easier to ignore. Therefore if it was communicating in a way that may focus on regional changes that are close in time and space –as individuals can see and relate it to their own communities.
- The research shows that people’s attitudes regarding risk depends on losses and gains. Such that people are willing to tolerate the risk of dealing with losses. Perhaps switching the policy conversation that focuses on positive benefits and gains of immediate action may cause an increase in public support.
- Research found that motivating behavior with extrinsic financial incentives for conserving energy may be more effective when combined with the appeals of people’s intrinsic motivation to improve the wellbeing of others and care for the environment. Thus requiring external incentives to motivate individual action.
Overall it has been found that a method in which mitigating climate change effectively involves the insight from social scientists and psychologists. As they can assist in changing individual attitudes and behaviors, by providing a different approach and motivation for individuals to begin to indeed take action, but that too on their own terms.
- What are some examples of things I can do to mitigate climate change?
|-eat less meat
-compost & recycle
-use reusable bottle
-buy 2nd hand
-host garage sale
-repair before replace
(showering, shaving, brushing teeth)
(lights, power strips, appliances)
- How do I start reducing and reusing items?
- Start by looking for products with less packaging. When manufacturers use less packaging, they use less raw
materials. This aids in reducing waste and costs.
- Purchase items in bulk, which can also save money and reduce packaging waste.
iii. Purchase reusable items vs disposable ones.
- Try to maintain and repair products (i.e. clothing, appliance etc.)
- To create less waste, try reusing old party decorations or borrowing them from a friend.
- What are the benefits of reducing waste and reusing items?
- Reusing items prevents pollution from being caused because it reduces the need to collect new raw materials,
thus saving energy and money
- By recycling items, you help in reducing greenhouse gas emission
iii. By making an effort in reducing waste and reusing items, you assist in sustaining the environment for future
- By decreasing the amount of waste, you reduce what needs to be recycled or sent to landfills or incinerators
COMMENTARY ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY. “How Psychology Can Save The World From Climate Change.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 24 June 2016. (http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/11/30/457835780/how-psychology-can-save-the-world-from-climate-change)
US Environmental Protection Agency. “Reducing and Reusing Basics.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 24 June 2016. (https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-and-reusing-basics)