4 Aug 2011

Attitudes to climate change are crucial to developing solutions

Last September the British Psychological Society had their annual lecture with the British Academy. I had an invite but sadly couldn't go - but I did get to listen to it when later they podcast the talk. I recently had cause to re-listen and do suggest that others may find this useful.

The sad truth is that denial, scepticism or questions about the reality of climate change have grown in the last couple of years - this talk centred over what we can do about it. Technological fixes and financial instruments have a key role - but crucially their effectiveness is usually mediated by the way the public understands, interprets, engages with or responds to such actions. Changing the public’s social, economic and environmental behaviours and everyday practices is essential. As someone who holds a psychology degree I have long had an interest in how it can be used to move us forward.

How for example can we tackle consumerism? What we buy seems for many to be crucial to identity - see the photos left - we are sold the message that buy buy buy will make us happy - retail therapy yet in reality if we consume less, we may end up being happier people. Some writers claim that the constant struggle for wealth makes us unhappy. So what are the ways forward?

See more about the talk by Prof David Uzzell here incl slides of talk - and listen to the hour long talk here.

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