The Inconvenient Mind Part 1_ Scientific Theories

Publication - 2019-05-17
For more than 35 years scientists have been advocating that the psychological impact of both Global Warming and the way it is reported needs to be considered when designing campaigns to change people's perceptions, attitudes and behaviours to support climate policy and change to more sustainable life-styles. Such cultural change is a must in order to create the change needed to prevent climate havoc. There is an increasing agreement among psychologists on why humans have such difficulties to respond to a highly likely future catastrophe. Yet, they face the same fate as their natural science colleagues (or worse) as their knowledge is largely ignored, even by those who praise and preach the facts of climate science.

For more than 35 years scientists have been advocating that the psychological impact of both Global Warming and the way it is reported needs to be considered when designing campaigns to change people's perceptions, attitudes and behaviours to support climate policy and change to more sustainable life-styles. Such cultural change is a must in order to create the change needed to prevent climate havoc. There is an increasing agreement among psychologists on why humans have such difficulties to respond to a highly likely future catastrophe. Yet, they face the same fate as their natural science colleagues (or worse) as their knowledge is largely ignored, even by those who praise and preach the facts of climate science.

In Part One of this paper, we give a very brief introduction to four complementary theories on why we think and feel about climate change the way we do. This part provides the science behind the recommendations for our climate work that we propose in Part Two. As the theories are complementary and overlapping, the proposed applications stem from a combination of these theories. In Part Three, we analyse the specific cognitive challenges relevant for specific projects that we are currently working on, like the Climate Emergency work, Urban Revolution and the school strikes, and give specific advice as illustrations on how project teams should (re)design their work to create more impact. While it does makes sense to follow the flow of the document, practitioners can also start reading Parts Two or Three and only come back to Part One if they want to better understand why such advice has been given. All three Parts will be living documents that we will amend over time. Especially in Part Three we will add more and more specific advice for individual projects.

Read the full report PDF here:

The Inconvenient Mind Part 1_ Scientific Theories

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