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Latane and Darley developed a five-stage model to understand why people do and do not help other people in emergency situations. We extend their five-stage model to explore why people do and do not take action against climate change. We identify the factors that make climate change difficult to notice and ambiguous as an emergency; we explore barriers to taking responsibility for action; and we discuss the issues of efficacy and costs versus benefits that make action unlikely. The resulting analysis is useful on two levels. For educators and policy makers, the model suggests the most efficacious approaches to galvanizing action among U.S. citizens. For social scientists, the model provides a valuable framework for integrating research from diverse areas of psychology and suggests fruitful avenues for future empirical research.
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2009, pp. 205--222
The Emergency of Climate Change: Why Are We
Failing to Take Action?
Cynthia M. Frantzand F. Stephan Mayer
Oberlin College
Latane and Darley developed a five-stage model to understand why people do
and do not help other people in emergency situations. We extend their five-stage
model to explore why people do and do not take action against climate change.
We identify the factors that make climate change difficult to notice and ambiguous
as an emergency; we explore barriers to taking responsibility for action; and we
discuss the issues of efficacy and costs versus benefits that make action unlikely.
The resulting analysis is useful on two levels. For educators and policy makers,
the model suggests the most efficacious approaches to galvanizing action among
U.S. citizens. For social scientists, the model provides a valuable framework for
integrating research from diverse areas of psychology and suggests fruitful avenues
for future empirical research.
In his article titled “The Moment of Truth,” Al Gore (2006) urges us to
take the threat of climate change no less seriously than the threat of the Nazis
during World War II. The scientific community makes similar pronouncements,
arguing that climate change is a worldwide threat to the human species that
needs immediate attention (see Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change re-
ports, 2001, 2007). Despite these calls to action, however, there is still little
consensus among the American public that climate change should be put at the
top of the national agenda. In fact, a poll conducted by Stanford University for
ABC News (Harder, 2008) found that only 47% of Americans consider global
warming an important issue to them personally, while 80% knew almost nothing
about the 2008 presidential candidates’ positions and policy proposals on climate
Why is this? In the face of such clarion calls to action based on scientific
evidence, why don’t Americans take united action? The present article attempts
Cynthia M. Frantz, Department of Psychology, 125 W. Lorain St., Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
44074 [email:].
DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2009.01180.x C
2009 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
206 Frantz and Mayer
to shed light on this question by applying Latane and Darley’s (1970) model
of helping behavior in an emergency to the issue of climate change. Latane and
Darley originally developed this model to understand why people often do not help
other people in emergency situations. We have used the insights from decades of
research on helping behavior to help us understand people’s current reactions to
the environment.
Although the Latane and Darley model is by no means the only psychological
model with potential to help understand inaction around climate change, there are
a number of reasons to use it. First, as we elaborate on in this article, the global
climate crisis fits the model particularly well. Second, the model provides an
integrative framework that highlights the relevance to climate change of disparate
research areas. This in turn leads to possible new lines of inquiry that would
not be otherwise apparent. Third, similar to the work by McKenzie-Mohr and
Smith (1999) on fostering sustainable behavior, the Latane and Darley model
illuminates the barriers that inhibit action, not just the factors that encourage
it. Fourth, the model speaks directly to the limits of environmentalists’ favorite
approach to behavior change: information campaigns. The model clearly specifies
that it takes a great deal more than simply informing the public or presenting
fear communications in order for meaningful action to take place. Given this,
we view their model as providing useful information for environmentalists and
for public policy decision makers wishing to encourage change. Throughout this
article, then, we will highlight the integrative, research, and policy implications
associated with framing climate change by use of this model.
The Five-Stage Model of Helping: An Overview
Latane and Darley (1970) proposed that in order for someone to help, five cri-
teria must be met. Additionally, they propose an overarching cost/benefit analysis
that impacts whether or not a person will engage in helping (cf. Piliavin, Rodin &
Piliavin, 1969; Piliavin, Dovidio, Gaertner & Clark, 1981). This cost/benefit anal-
ysis is most clearly associated with the later steps of the model, where people are
weighing whether becoming involved will result in potential reward or punishment.
According to this model, in order for helping to occur, a person needs to satisfy
the requirements of each step and reach a satisfactory conclusion regarding the
cost versus benefits of helping. Below we present a brief summary of each of
the five steps and identify the factors associated with both promoting helping and
the barriers to helping associated with each step.
The first step of the model makes the seemingly obvious point that a potential
helper must notice the event in question. Research has demonstrated, however,
that emergencies often go unnoticed, for a variety of reasons. For example, many
emergencies lack salience in our lives (Rogers, Miller, Mayer & Duval, 1982).
The Emergency of Climate Change 207
The great distance, both physical and psychological, between our own lives and
the lives of starving children on some other continent makes it very easy to remain
unaware of their plight. Closer to home, abused partners and children may remain
silent, their emergency may also go undetected, and consequently, no help will be
provided. Characteristics of the helper also make a difference. A potential helper
who is in a hurry (Darley & Batson, 1973) or is highly self-absorbed (Berkowitz,
1972; Mayer, Duval, Holtz & Bowman, 1985; Rogers et al., 1982) may not notice
the distressed other.
The second step requires the potential helper to interpret the event as an
emergency situation; if it is not seen as an emergency, helping will not occur.
Emergency events are often ambiguous. Imagine a man lying on the grass with his
eyes closed on a sunny day in a downtown area. Is he resting? Has he had a heart
attack? The question may only be clarified after a period of many hours. Other
people’s reactions can also affect how we interpret the event. Given ambiguity, if
others act as if it is not an emergency situation, we may rely on the information
they provide and similarly come to perceive the event as a nonemergency (Latane
& Darley, 1968). We may also be loath to overreact because we do not want to
feel foolish in the eyes of others. Thus, our reliance on others for information and
our need for approval can both facilitate and serve as a barrier to helping.
The third step requires individuals to feel a sense of personal responsibility
to aid the distressed other. One key determinant of feeling responsible is having
a sense of “we-ness” or connectedness to the victim (Duval, Duval & Neely,
1979; Hornstein, 1982). Smaller groups (Latane & Darley, 1968), similarity of
the person to the distressed other (Miller, Kozu & Davis, 2001), and taking the
victim’s perspective (Batson, 2001; Batson & Powell, 2003) all contribute to a
sense of connection. But another key determinant of responsibility is having no
one else to rely on. Latane and Darley (1968) demonstrate that, ironically, a
person needing help is less likely to receive help when there are many people
present, as opposed to only one person. Diffusion of responsibility means that each
person in a large crowd knows that there are many other people available to help,
which results in each member feeling less responsible for the well-being of the
Knowing what to do (the fourth step) and actually deciding to act (the fifth
step) are also required before help will be given in an emergency. People will
not help if they feel that their personal resources are insufficient to effectively
cope with the emergency (Duval & Mulilis, 1999; Mulilis & Duval, 2003). In-
stead, they are likely to deny personal responsibility (Lalwani & Duval, 2000)
and, consequently, not engage in helping behavior. Thus, factors that enhance a
person’s sense of empowerment or self-efficacy tend to promote helping behavior,
as does information that provides people with effective ideas of how to address an
emergency situation (Bandura, 1977; Mulilis & Duval, 1995).
208 Frantz and Mayer
The cost/benefit analysis that overrides these stages is especially relevant
from Stages 2 through 5. For instance, we have already mentioned how a person
might not want to overreact in a potential emergency situation for fear of losing the
approval of others. Additionally, a person may not want to accept responsibility for
the distressed other due to emotional attachment and the accompanying negative
affect or possible blame if things go wrong (cf. Batson, 1987). Expanding on
the former point, forming an ill-advised idea of how to help and implementing a
flawed plan can also lead to criticism and possible condemnation. As for the latter
point, experiencing a sense of “we-ness” with a distressed other can result in the
distressed other’s pain becoming the potential helper’s pain as well. As Batson
(1987) empirically demonstrates, when the potential helper experiences negative
affect and can easily escape from the situation, that person is likely to do so.
Furthermore, the cost/benefit analysis extends not only to the helping act
itself, but also to competing behaviors in which the potential helper could be
engaged. For instance, imagine yourself on tour with a group in Italy. When a
fellow traveler experiences heart problems, do you help that person get to an
emergency room or do you follow the tour schedule and visit the Sistine Chapel?
The cost/benefit analysis in this example refers not only to the costs and benefits
of aiding the fellow traveler and escorting him/her to the emergency room, but
also to the costs and benefits of missing the tour of the Sistine Chapel.
Helping Behavior and the Environment
Latane and Darley’s work makes clear that offering help in an emergency
situation is not as assured as we might like to think. A number of psychological
processes and situational factors can combine to create barriers to helping behavior
at each of the five stages described above. In this section, we explore how these
factors that both promote helping and serve as barriers to helping apply to decisions
of U.S citizens to take action against climate change. We will also highlight how
their model helps to integrate research in this field, presents new lines of inquiry,
and provides direction for public policy.
Throughout this analysis, several themes emerge. First, the psychological pro-
cesses of each stage are inextricably intertwined and affect each other recursively.
Although we tend to think of the model as a one-way, linear process, for dealing
with emergencies that unfold over time, it is clear that what happens at later stages
of the model can influence earlier stages. Second, society-level structural (policy)
changes beget individual-level psychological changes, which then make further
structural changes possible. These two levels of analysis are also inextricably in-
tertwined. Third, the key to successful action is collective action, at nearly every
stage and at both the societal and the psychological level.
The Emergency of Climate Change 209
Stage 1: Noticing the Event
Many environmental problems are not particularly noticeable, and climate
change is no exception. For example, rising CO2levels in the atmosphere is one of
the root causes of climate change. However, changes in the atmosphere of 50–75
parts per million CO2over the last 50 years are undetectable to our senses. If
we could all see or otherwise personally detect carbon levels rising, reactions to
climate change likely would be very different.
Even when comparing temperatures across time, the yearly variability of
temperature makes it difficult to notice a degree or two Fahrenheit change during
the past 50–100 years, particularly against the backdrop of natural climatic shifts
that are not the result of human behavior. In fact, only sophisticated scientific
modeling of the CO2and temperature changes can definitively detect the unique
contribution of humans to climate fluctuations.
Additionally, climate changes are not spread equally over the globe; the most
dramatic changes are occurring in more remote and distant areas, such as the arctic
regions, where there are very few people to notice the effects. A recent poll of
residents in Alaska supports the idea that being closer to an emergency makes
a difference: 71% of Alaskans believe that global warming is a serious threat
to Alaska as a whole and to the United States (Leiserowitz & Craciun, 2006),
compared to only 41% of U.S. citizens in the lower 48 states who view it as a very
serious problem (Pew Foundation Poll, July, 2006).
Other factors of modern life make people less likely to notice the effects of
climate change. People in modern industrial societies like the United States spend
up to 90% of their time indoors in artificial, temperature-controlled environments
(Evans & McCoy, 1998). This lessened connection between humans and their
natural world is not unlike the psychological distance and lesser connection that
exists between Westerners and starving children in Africa. Further, most people in
the modern industrial world do not depend directly on nature for their livelihoods,
and many have jobs that require moving from place to place. As a result, people
are less likely to be deeply rooted in a specific environment and, consequently,
less likely to notice subtle changes occurring within it. In other words, there are
societal costs associated with frequent relocations and jobs structured in ways that
disconnect people from the natural world.
People who are intimately tied to the environment do tend to notice the
environmental changes that are taking place. Informal observations and formal
analysis of decades of records kept by regional maple sugar producers in New
England and Canada reveal that the maple sugar season starts and ends earlier
than a generation ago (Proctor Maple Research Center, 2006). Records kept by
bird watchers and other naturalists paint a similar picture: the flight of the butterfly,
the song of the frog, and the flowering of cherry blossoms in Kyoto have all been
altered by climate change (Parmesan, 2006; Price & Glick, 2002). Those who
carefully follow these patterns sense it; the rest of us do not.
210 Frantz and Mayer
Given that the changes are often subtle, occur over relatively long periods,
and are most noticeable in remote areas of the world, policy makers, educators,
and scientists need to make special efforts to help everyday people in the United
States take note of the changes. The presentation of photos from different periods
has been used to good effect to dramatize the climate changes that have taken
place. For instance, images of snow loss from Mount Kilimanjaro from 1970 to
present or the reduction of the size of the glaciers in Glacier National Park provide
excellent examples of how to make people aware of the substantial changes that
have occurred over time.
Taking steps to psychologically decrease the distance between the potential
helper and the emergency may also help people to notice climate change. Most
North Americans may not pay much heed to rising sea levels in far off lands, but
should their own city begin to flood, it would catch their attention. Documenting
more proximate changes, such as forecasted flooding in New York and Washington
D.C. might prove useful, as might images that link climate change to the increased
frequency and strength of hurricane damage, tornado damage, flood, drought, and
fire damage.
People can also be taught to see global environmental change on a more
everyday level. In his book Bringing the Biosphere Home, Thomashow (2002)
argues for the importance of learning how to observe and interpret the ecological
patterns happening around us, and connecting these observations to the broader
picture of the biosphere. Experiential evidence of climate change is available to
people living everywhere, if they know how to look for it. Science education, both
formal and informal, can help build a population of people who know how to
The above observations suggest several new lines of research. Given that
people who spend more time in the environment as naturalists or laborers are
more likely to notice the effects of climate change, the concept of place attachment
(Kyle et al., 2004) might be an interesting avenue of study; people who are strongly
attached to a specific natural setting may very well be the most likely to notice
changes occurring in that setting. Similarly, people who view themselves as being
an egalitarian member of the natural world (i.e., score relatively high on the
Connectedness to Nature Scale, Mayer & Frantz, 2004) or whose identity is tied
to the environment (Environmental Identity Scale, Clayton & Opotow, 2003) may
not only be more likely to notice changes in their environment, but may be more
likely to seek out information relevant to potential environmental changes. These
lines of inquiry seem very promising.
Stage 2: Interpreting the Event as an Emergency
Once people take note of the changes taking place around them, they must
realize that these changes indeed indicate an emergency. This may seem like the
The Emergency of Climate Change 211
simplest part: present people with the facts. Yet for many years, there was not a
consensus on whether climate change was a real phenomenon, making it easy for
people not to define the event as an emergency. Even today, some still describe
climate change as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”
(U.S. Senator James Inhofe, 2005). How can people conclude this in the face of
overwhelming evidence?
It is because humans are not objective and impassive processors of informa-
tion; their fears, desires, and goals influence strongly how they evaluate and weigh
evidence (Baumeister & Newman, 1994; Kunda, 1990; see Fiske & Taylor, 2007,
for a summary of this literature). It is not hard to see why U.S. citizens would be
motivated to deny that climate change is an emergency.
First, a host of psychological studies demonstrate that human beings are very
skilled at denying that which is inconvenient. This is particularly likely to happen
when people are made afraid. Early social psychological work on attitude change
found that communications designed to motivate action through fear (The end
is near!) often backfire (Janis & Feshbach, 1953). That is, instead of producing
attitude change toward the communication, the communication can lead people
to feel anxious and motivated to avoid thinking about the distressing information.
This surprising finding led social psychologists to conduct research investigating
the conditions under which fear-arousing communications were most likely to pro-
duce the desired change in attitudes. They discovered that in order to be effective,
fear communications must provide highly specific recommendations regarding
the behavior that needs to be performed in order to avoid the unwanted outcome
(Leventhal, 1970; Rogers & Mewborn, 1976; Leventhal, Meyer & Nerenz, 1980).
In the language of Latane and Darley, these appeals must pave the way for passing
through the other stages of decision making that lead to action.
Many environmental communications try to dramatize the importance of the
environmental threat so that people will view it as an emergency; they are classic
fear communications. For example, Al Gore warns in his Vanity Fair article, “The
Moment of Truth,” that there are “dire warnings that the worst catastrophe in
the history of human civilization is bearing down on us, gathering strength as it
comes.” Kolbert (2006) in her celebrated book Field Notes from a Catastrophe,
states at the very end: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically
advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we
are now in the process of doing.”
The research on fear appeals tells us that these messages should not end with
a crescendo of fear, but rather with a message that helps people move through the
later stages of the model. Getting people to notice an event is worthless if they
are so distraught that they deny its reality (Stage 2), deny responsibility (Stage 3),
and have no idea what to do (Stage 4). Presenting a clear path forward may make
it more emotionally palatable to acknowledge the emergency situation in the first
212 Frantz and Mayer
In addition to people’s motivation to refute inconvenient messages, the gen-
eral public’s skepticism of science presents another barrier to recognizing climate
change as an emergency. Various authors have discussed the general anti-
intellectualism that is present in the United States (Hofstadter, 1964; Sachs, 2008;
Jacoby, 2009). Antiscience skepticism is one of the major factors that needs to be
addressed through education and leadership. As Sachs states, besides addressing
our educational system and “aggressive fundamentalism” in the United States
that “denies modern science... we need scientifically literate politicians adept at
evidence-based critical thinking to translate these findings and recommendations
into policy and international agreements.”
Third, as stated when we introduced Latane and Darley’s model, individuals
are impacted by the way others react in an emergency situation; they rely on others
for information. In the environmental literature, numerous studies illustrate how
norms can be made salient by actually viewing the behavior of another person
(Aronson & O’Leary, 1982–1983) or inferring the actions of others (Cialdini,
Reno & Kallgren, 1990). Thus, actually seeing others make efforts to reduce their
carbon footprint (or even inferring that others are engaging in these actions) may
prove to be effective in helping to establish that the threat of climate change
requires immediate action.
Fourth, cognitive dissonance is a psychological force working against the
recognition of climate change as an emergency. Cognitive dissonance is the in-
herently unpleasant tension we feel when we act in a manner that is inconsistent
with our self-concept (Festinger, 1957). One of the major tenets of cognitive dis-
sonance theory is that to relieve the tension that arises from being inconsistent,
people will often change their beliefs, attitudes, and self-concept to fall in line
with their actions. Stated differently, when people freely engage in an action, they
become committed to that action (i.e., the action becomes resistant to change).
Given the resistance of this action to change, people are then thought to adjust
their beliefs and self-concept to be consistent with their acts. Thus, what people
do influences what they believe and how they see themselves.
Presently, the way our society is structured makes it easiest for people to
do things that exacerbate climate change. Most people cannot easily avoid the
production of greenhouse gases in their everyday actions—from buying produce
shipped from distant places to using shampoo in plastic bottles to driving to work.
Given this, to avoid psychic tension associated with cognitive dissonance, people
may adjust their beliefs and self-concepts to be consistent with these actions.
Consequently, they may come to believe that climate change is not a priority and
develop self-concepts that are not particularly pro-environmental.
Overcoming the psychological force of cognitive dissonance requires struc-
tural changes in our society to facilitate behavior change. People need to be
provided with real options for reducing their carbon footprint so that they are not
inevitably channeled into inaction. Policy makers should seek programs that make
The Emergency of Climate Change 213
it easier for people to do pro-environmental actions; this in turn paves the way for
pro-environmental beliefs and self-concepts, which in turn creates a public that is
ready for further policy change. For example, public transportation in most of the
United States is notoriously poor and inconvenient, or in many cases, nonexistent.
City planners and government need to provide transportation options that are more
climate neutral (Register, 2006), and employers could allow greater flexibility for
people to telecommute. As another example, the fuel efficiency of cars available
to Americans lags far behind the fuel efficiency of cars readily available in Europe
and Japan. Raising CAF ´
E standards would motivate car makers to provide con-
sumers with real choices for fighting climate change. Not only would this have
the substantive and obvious impact of reducing carbon emissions in the United
States, cognitive dissonance theory suggests that it would also help change peo-
ple’s perceptions of climate change as an emergency requiring immediate action,
paving the way for even greater behavior change.
Optimism is another factor that can lead people to fail to perceive an event like
climate change as an emergency. Optimism is typically highlighted as a positive
trait, a healthy sign of successful development. Generally speaking, people do not
think that negative things will happen to them; this belief helps them get through
the day. Thus an optimistic individual, when faced with a threat that will unfold
over a long period and be influenced by many factors, has lots of leeway to make
optimistic predictions. In responding to climate change, people can believe that
scientists will come up with a technological breakthrough or that the problems may
never fully materialize. Certainly, the optimism that characterizes the American
spirit has been held up as a defining positive characteristic of the American people
(Allport, 1937; Mezulis, Abramson, Hyde & Hankin, 2004). But in this instance,
if it leads to inaction, it may be anything but a characteristic to rejoice about. How
do we direct this optimistic spirit into action against climate change? We will
return to this question momentarily.
Lastly, educational organizations in general, and the National Park system in
particular, could play a critical role in educating people about climate change and
helping them define it as an emergency. Millions of people visit national parks
each year, viewing introductory films to each park, and participating in ranger-led
educational programs. This is a wonderful opportunity to inform the public about
the crisis nature of climate change as it relates to the nation’s most beautiful natural
Stage 3: Feeling Personally Responsible to Act
Once the emergency is recognized, potential helpers must feel personally
responsible to do something. Unfortunately, responsibility is subjectively defined.
All cultures have a responsibility norm: an understanding about who and what we
are responsible for. Modern U.S. culture defines that norm more narrowly than
214 Frantz and Mayer
most cultures. Psychologically speaking, it is relatively easy for U.S. citizens not
to feel responsible for taking action to help. Further, because the emergency of
climate change is influenced by so many parties, there are many potential agents
who can be construed as responsible. These two factors—a narrowly defined norm
of responsibility and the involvement of many parties—provide ideal conditions
for diffusion of responsibility to occur. Each individual is free to assume that it is
someone else’s job to take action.
In fact, cognitive dissonance theory would suggest that people are not merely
free, but motivated, to perceive that it is someone else’s job; individuals can
resolve the dissonance induced by daily engaging in carbon-emitting behaviors by
reducing their perception of choice in the matter. In effect, they can say, “Ican’t
do anything; it’s someone else’s job” or, “The government is already taking care
of this.”
Besides diffusion of responsibility, individuals face other psychological bar-
riers to feeling responsible to act. As stated earlier, when the magnitude of the
emergency is greater than the personal resources available to an individual, the
potential helper is likely to engage in defensive attribution and not accept respon-
sibility for the emergency (see Kaplan, 2000, for a similar argument). Climate
change is a huge problem. Clearly, no one person has the personal resources to
have anything but a tiny impact, or the cost of having an impact may be perceived
as far too great. Thus, scientific and environmental messages that emphasize the
magnitude of climate change, which may have the desired effects of making peo-
ple notice the event and interpret it as an emergency, may ironically have the
undesired effect of making people feel less responsible.
The stress and coping literature has studied this phenomenon extensively.
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) discuss two broad coping strategies: problem-focused
versus emotion-focused coping. Problem-focused coping refers to taking direct
action to confront a threat (moving forward through the stages of the model),
whereas emotion-focused coping involves ignoring and/or denying the threat (get-
ting stuck in the early stages of the model). When do people engage in one
form of coping or the other? A major determinant is individuals’ perception
of control. Given control, individuals are more likely to engage in problem-
focused coping, while with little perceived control, emotion-focused coping may
McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999) argue that when tackling global issues,
a sense of perceived control is largely impacted by our sense of community—of
people working in concert with others. By acting in concert with others, people
can experience a greater sense of self-efficacy or personal control and, conse-
quently, be less likely to engage in emotion-focused coping and defensive denial
of responsibility (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Gardner (2006) points out that envi-
ronmentalists and churches share many commonalities, and a partnership between
the two could create meaningful collective change. For instance, both groups ar-
gue for less consumption and materialism, simpler lifestyles and, in essence, a
The Emergency of Climate Change 215
smaller ecological footprint. But churches have other resources that make them
ideal venues for collective action. Churches have strong communities. They also
often have strong leadership, broad organizational ties, wealth, land holdings, and
a moral voice that can inspire people to change their lifestyles and take action.
Combining the prophetic voice, leadership, organization, financial capital, and
voting strength of churches with environmental tactics for positive change could
produce the concerted social movement that is required.
Another potential strategy to increase feelings of responsibility is to increase
U.S. citizens’ sense of connection to nature. Research on prosocial behavior con-
sistently demonstrates that feeling connected to others increases willingness to
help. Our research extends this pattern to the natural world: feeling a sense of
connectedness to nature is associated with environmentally responsible behavior
(Mayer & Frantz, 2004; Trostle, 2008). Connection to nature can be increased by
spending time outdoors (even as little as 15 minutes), by looking out a window
onto a natural area (F.S. Mayer and C.M. Frantz, unpublished data), by spend-
ing time in a greenhouse (F.S. Mayer and C.M. Frantz, unpublished data), or by
looking at videos of natural environments (Mayer, Frantz, Bruehlman-Senecal
& Dolliver, 2008). The “nature” that people are exposed to does not have to be
expansive and pristine, either. City dwellers can benefit from having a tree live
outside their window (Kaplan, 2001).
Furthermore, our work points out that increasing individuals’ knowledge
about an issue, although intuitively appealing, is not likely to increase a sense
of responsibility. We have tested this idea in our research by contrasting peo-
ple’s beliefs and attitudes about the ecological crisis (using the New Ecological
Paradigm, or NEP, Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig & Jones, 2000) to their experiential
sense of being a part of the natural world (using our Connectedness to Nature
Scale, or CNS, Mayer & Frantz, 2004). The CNS and the NEP both related to
environmentally responsible behavior, r=.44, p<.01, and r=.20, p<.05,
respectively. However, when we statistically controlled for the CNS, the NEP was
no longer significantly related to these acts. When controlling for the NEP, the
CNS remained significantly correlated with the pro-environmental acts, r=.42,
p<.01. These data suggest that the general beliefs and knowledge do not predict
behavior as well as the personal feeling of being connected to nature.
Given this, climate scientists, environmental activists, parents, and educators
who wish to promote change need to do more than simply create an informed
public. To be effective, programs must also instill a sense of connection between
people and the natural world. The work of Kals, Schumacher, and Montada (1999)
shows that for children, early experiences in nature with a loved one, such as a
parent, help to foster a child’s love of nature later in life (see also Louv, 2008).
The National Park system can also play a valuable role. A well-designed park
facilitates connection with the natural environment for wide swaths of American
society (e.g., paved paths make it possible for the wheelchair-bound to experience
nature). Further, educational programs that discuss climate change may pack an
216 Frantz and Mayer
even more powerful punch in a context in which people are seeking out and
connecting with the most beautiful natural environments in our nation.
Stage 4: Knowing What to Do
It is noteworthy that this relatively later stage of Latane and Darley’s model
is the best articulated. Many writers and organizations provide information about
how to minimize our carbon footprint: recycling, buying locally grown foods,
replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, insulating one’s
home, carpooling—the list goes on and on. Thus, much of the information and
technology is out there; the harder part is motivating people to seek it out (discussed
above) and to actually act on it (discussed further below).
There is debate, however, as to whether these lists of behaviors are actually the
ones that ought to be encouraged. A growing concern among environmentalists is
that the focus on behavior change at the individual or household level is misplaced;
change at the level of government and industry is in fact far more urgent. From
this perspective, the helping behaviors that individuals should be encouraged to
perform are things like lobbying their elected representatives, putting pressure on
corporations, and making climate change a top priority during elections. Parallel
to the discussion above about raising CAF´
E standards, these behaviors are not
only effective because of the direct structural changes that this kind of political
pressure could create. They also pave the way for individual changes in attitude
and behavior as societal structure makes low-carbon living more feasible.
In addition, focusing on these more collectively oriented behaviors has the im-
portant benefit of increasing individuals’ sense of efficacy, and by extension, their
willingness to act. Activists are just beginning to tap the possibilities afforded by
high-speed communication for networking and mobilizing large numbers of like-
minded individuals to put pressure on elected officials. New organizations are also
springing up, connecting people across space via the Internet. For example, the Al-
liance for Climate Protection’s We Campaign ( and
the Center for a New American Dream’s Carbon Conscious Communities project
( connect like-minded citizens with each
other, and seek to make visible to the individual the significant effect that their
actions can have when aggregated across many people. Beyond the immediate
benefits such networking brings, it also creates an environment in which individu-
als are psychologically better able to respond to the emergency of climate change
over the long run.
Stage 5: Implementing the Required Acts
Once potential helpers have passed through the previous four stages—noticing
climate change, interpreting it as an emergency, feeling responsible to do
The Emergency of Climate Change 217
something, and knowing what to do—all that is left is to act. However, people
often do not act. Sometimes people do not act because it is structurally impossible
(there is no public transportation one can take to work), sometimes because it is
inconvenient (see below). But habit and norms also play an important role.
Given that acting to fight climate change involves in part the repetitive per-
formance of everyday behaviors (turning off the lights, shunning produce shipped
from Chile in the grocery store), individuals who have successfully passed through
the first four stages may simply forget to take the appropriate action. Research on
prompts (McKenzie-Mohr & Smith, 1999) suggests that reminders—if noticeable,
self-explanatory, and placed temporally and spatially near the targeted behavior—
are effective in making potential actions cognitively accessible. For example, a
sign above a light switch to turn off the light when you leave the room makes it
more likely that an individual will actually turn off the light.
Norms can play a similar role. Norms not only provide information but serve
as unspoken guidelines for behavior; they are “what people do.” Once established,
norms for environmentally friendly actions will guide behavior without any ex-
plicit effort on the part of policy makers or activists. Policy can lay the ground-
work for behavior; once it becomes normative, the formalized policy becomes less
The Overarching Cost/Benefit Analysis
We have discussed how the overarching cost/benefit analysis affects Stages 2
and 3. We now reflect on how it impacts the later stages of this model. Historically,
many of the ideas (Stage 4) and actions (Stage 5) associated with environmentally
responsible behavior have been associated with sacrifice. From President Jimmy
Carter’s presidential address where he discussed “tightening or belts” to calls for
less consumption of material goods and smaller houses, environmental messages
are for many associated with having less. A great deal of research has established
a very powerful psychological principle: we are very averse to loss (Kahneman
& Tversky, 1996). As others have before us (Kaplan, 2000), we argue that the
association between environmentally responsible behavior and loss presents a
formidable psychological barrier to lifestyle change.
Thus, policy makers and activists would do well to reflect on how to rewrite
the cost-benefit equation in favor of environmentally responsible behavior. This
can be done in several ways. One approach is to increase the cost of our current
behavior, in a direct and experiential way. Policies that make visible the real costs
of our behaviors (e.g., carbon taxes) are one potential avenue (Brown, 2001).
Another approach is to highlight the benefits associated with switching from a
consumerist lifestyle to a sustainable lifestyle. Decades of work demonstrates that
money and happiness become unrelated to one another once basic needs are met
(Myers, 2000). This message needs to be convincingly spread.
218 Frantz and Mayer
Hand in hand with this communication, however, should be a message that
focuses people on what really matters. When you ask the general public what
leads to a happy and fulfilling life, they correctly identify the same factors that
psychological research identifies (Frantz, 2008; Jhally, 1997). The main predictors
of happiness have less to do with material goods than with the quality of our
marriages, personal friendships, and the social support we experience. A sense of
meaning and purpose—through work, faith communities, or other activities—also
contributes to well-being. Additionally, a burgeoning body of work documents
that nature is a source of happiness (Kaplan, 2001; Mayer, Frantz, Bruehlman-
Senecal & Dolliver, in press; van den Berg, Koole & van der Wulp, 2003), mental
health (Honeyman, 1992), and physical health (Kaplan, 1992, 1993; Moore, 1981;
Ulrich, 1984).
Yet a culture of consumption saturated with advertising for products often
leads people away from focusing on these contributors to life satisfaction. As the
final pieces of this puzzle, then, people still need to view their lives as imbued
with meaning, purpose, and at least the chance of reaching a positive end state.
Educators and activists need to find ways to convince the American public that an
environmental lifestyle is a more viable route to this end than the path they have
been on.
Concluding Thoughts
We have argued that there are many psychological forces that explain why
U.S. citizens are not acting to curb climate change: climate change is difficult
to notice and controversial as an emergency (despite the overwhelming scientific
evidence). Individuals and organizations can easily conclude that someone else
is responsible for acting, and that individual actions are inadequate to the task.
Finally, doing something about climate change is, as Al Gore puts it, inconvenient.
We have also argued that there are many places in which policy could help
mitigate these forces. Educational policy can encourage critical, unbiased assess-
ment of the scientific evidence for climate change, and can help youth develop
a perceptive, connected relationship with the natural world. Economic and envi-
ronmental policy could create a societal infrastructure that supports individuals
in their efforts to make responsible choices, and thus dramatically change expe-
riences of cognitive dissonance and the cost-benefit analysis of climate neutral
choices. Perhaps most important is fostering programs that emphasize the efficacy
of individuals acting in concert.
Additionally, we argue for a positive message to motivate people to engage in
environmentally responsible behavior. A more carbon-neutral path can be a more
rewarding and fulfilling path, to the extent that it focuses our attention on the
things that are truly associated with well-being. That this lifestyle also protects the
environment is an added benefit that we hope will motivate people to take action
to rectify the environmental challenges of our day.
The Emergency of Climate Change 219
As a last point, we argue that sound policy is based on sound theory. Latane and
Darley’s model of helping provides an effective model that helps researchers and
policy makers alike frame the issue of climate change broadly. As we have shown,
the model provides among other things, a framework that organizes the research on
normative behavior, communication, commitment, cognitive dissonance, coping
behavior, and prompts. It also identifies not only the motivators of action, but the
barriers to action, and the relationship between how considerations at one stage
can impact effectiveness at another stage. We hope our suggestions for research
and policy prove useful.
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CYNTHIA McPHERSON FRANTZ is an Associate Professor of Psychology
at Oberlin College. She received her BA from Williams College, and her PhD
from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In collaboration with Stephan
Mayer, her research focuses on the psychological aspects that lead people to
222 Frantz and Mayer
feel more or less connected to nature (CN), the impact that CN has on pro-
environmental behavior, and the relationship between CN and positive health-
related psychological characteristics.
F. STEPHEN MAYER is the Norman D. Henderson Professor of Psychology,
Chair of the Psychology Department, and Chair of the Peace and Conflict Studies
Program at Oberlin College. He has a PhD and a BA from the University of
Southern California. In addition to his collaborative research with Dr. Frantz, Dr.
Mayer has authored a textbook on personality.
... The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have initiated a surge in outdoor recreation (i.e., nature-based recreational or leisure activities) among Americans and seems to be driven largely by the pursuit of improved health and well-being [1]. Drawing a connection to another serious global threat, it has been proposed that such increased participation in outdoor recreation may have the added benefit of bringing about greater concern for climate change by increasing a sense of connection to nature [2,3]. Social scientists have studied the individual and contextual factors influencing climate change beliefs and attitudes in depth [4][5][6][7] and have extensively examined the association between outdoor recreation and various environmental attitudes [8]. ...
... Our findings are important because they may indicate the usefulness of promoting meaningful and enjoyable nature-based leisure activities as a means of generating greater public recognition of the threat of climate change and support for climate policies to address this global problem. While scholars and others have suggested that increased time spent in nature and connectedness to nature could prompt stronger efforts to address climate change, no previous study has empirically tested the association between outdoor recreation and concern for climate change [2,3,9,35]. ...
Full-text available
There has been extensive research on the association between environmental attitudes and outdoor recreation (or nature-based leisure activities) since the 1970s. There is now considerable evidence to support the claim that spending time in nature leads to greater connectedness to nature and thereby greater pro-environmental attitudes and behavior. However, there is an absence of research focused specifically on the association between outdoor recreation and concern for climate change, which is arguably the most pressing environmental problem facing the world today. We build on previous research by using the 2021 General Social Survey and structural equation modeling to analyze the association between frequency of engaging in outdoor recreation and concern for climate change among adults in the United States, with special attention to the role of enjoying being in nature. Controlling for other factors, we find that frequency of outdoor recreation has a positive, significant effect on climate change concern, but only indirectly via enjoyment of nature. Individuals who more frequently engage in outdoor recreation activities tend to report a greater sense of enjoyment of being outside in nature, and this enjoyment of nature is associated with a higher level of concern for climate change.
... Accordingly, men's and women's different personal values contribute to their attitude and motivation to green consumption. The attitude to green consumption is also greatly affected by social norms (Mohai, 1997;Stern, 2000;Frantz and Mayer, 2009;Alibeli and White, 2011;McCright and Sundström, 2013). Since based on social norms, women usually take more responsibility for caring for others, and play the altruistic and cooperative role, whereas, the social expectation on men is inclined to more aggressive characters (Alibeli and White, 2011;Gysbers et al., 2014). ...
... of social expectation and social norms in shaping individuals' green consumption, as well as impacts of a particular social context on men's and women's pro-environmental behavior (Mohai, 1997;Frantz and Mayer, 2009;McCright and Sundström, 2013;Swim et al., 2020). As we discussed above, even though multiple causes contributing to the gender differences in green purchasing behavior were identified by previous studies, they have not been integrated and analyzed based on the specific social mechanism yet (Nolan and Schultz, 2015). ...
Full-text available
Although extant literature provided abundant evidence that men and women are different in their environmental behaviors, there is a lack of integration of gender differences in green consumption and the underlying mechanism that associates with these disparities. Therefore, to solve this existing gap, the current paper reviewed existing literature on green consumption with threefold purposes. First, presenting an integrated view of gender-different green consumption patterns along with the relationship of gender-related beliefs and individuals’ pro-environmental behavior based on existing evidence. Second, interpreting how gender differences are generated based on the value-belief-norm (VBN) theory, and the theory of social roles. Third, analyzing previous studies, providing implications for future research, and then proposing suggestions for marketing practitioners in the green products industry. Accordingly, this article compared men’s and women’s different behavior in green consumption and discussed how and why they behave differently. Generally, women show a more positive green consumption intention, consume less carbon, and purchase green products more frequently. Whereas men are doing better than women in terms of environmental knowledge, and in some regions, they express higher concerns about environmental problems. It interprets individual differences in green consumption based on VBN theory from a unique insight—gender. It also identified some barriers for both men and women to participate in green consumption, and then proposed several suggestions to improve the public willingness of engaging in green consumption.
... In this situation, the benefits of individual action accrue to the public as a whole while the costs of actions are borne by the individual. Furthermore, the direct benefits of individual actions in large-scale public goods problems such as climate change are so dilute that they may undermine a sense of self-efficacy [19][20][21]. In this type of situation use of social norms to motivate behavior change is likely to be effective while appeals to self-interest are not. ...
... In this type of situation use of social norms to motivate behavior change is likely to be effective while appeals to self-interest are not. Making pro-environmental behavior in a community more visible not only helps to establish a norm, but may also enhance self-efficacy, a sense of responsibility, and optimism, thereby making individual and collective action more likely [19]. ...
Full-text available
Three studies provided initial laboratory tests of the effectiveness of a novel form of community-based environmental messaging intended to be deployed on public digital signs. In all studies, adult participants watched a slideshow of “Community Voices,” a display that combines community images and quotes to celebrate and empower pro-environmental and pro-community thought and action. In addition to assessing the general efficacy of the approach, a central goal was to assess the impact of alternative messengers by comparing identical text associated with either adult or child messengers (Studies 1, 2, and 3). We also assessed the impact of alternative framing of the message itself by comparing: injunctive vs non-injunctive wording (Study 1), political vs non-political content (Study 1), and future vs. present-oriented framing (Study 2). Studies 1 and 2 were conducted on a national sample. In addition, to assess the impact of local vs. non-local messengers, Study 3 compared the response of a non-local sample to a local population in which subjects had personal connections with the people and places featured in the message content. Exposure to Community Voices messages resulted in significant increases in social norm perception, concern about environmental issues, commitment to action, and optimism, suggesting that this approach to messaging is potentially valuable for stimulating cultural change. However, messages attributed to child messengers were generally not more effective, and in some cases were less effective than the same message attributed to adults. We also found no significant difference in the impact of the alternative message frames studied.
... This means that college students who believe it is important to protect the environment are better able to perceive environmental threats and are more morally angry with others for violating ecological norms (littering, mistreating small animals, or eating wild animals). Frantz and Mayer (2010) also supports this view and find that altruistic people (i.e., those concerned about the interests of others and of other species) are more attuned to global environmental risks (such as ozone holes and global warming). Second, we found a significant positive correlation between RP and PEB, which is consistent with the existing research results (Joireman et al., 2004;Xie et al., 2019). ...
Full-text available
This study aims to identify the relationship between students' environmental value (EV) and pro-environmental behavior (PEB) within a values-belief-norm framework. To conduct an empirical study, we used a sample of 558 online surveys and adopted the partial least squares path modeling method to test the relationships between variables in the conceptual model. The results indicate that EV positively predicted PEB among young adults. In addition, we highlight that risk perception (RP) and moral anger (MA) play critical chain mediating roles in the relationship between EV and PEB. This study has meaningful implications for practitioners seeking to encourage the public's ecofriendly behavior by suggesting ways to encourage RP and stimulate individuals' moral emotions about the environment.
... Other research has integrated the role of social identification with other collective processes, such as awareness of environmental threats (Frantz & Mayer, 2009;Schmitt et al., 2018), moral obligation to protect the environment (Bratanova et al., 2012), perceptions of collective efficacy (Fritsche et al., 2018;van Zomeren et al., 2008) and anger (Becker et al., 2011). In the original statement of Tajfel and Turner (1979), subjectively perceived aspects of the social structure were central features of SIT and were hypothesized to influence when groups will engage in collective action in order to change the status quo. ...
We expand on the plausible role of access to cognitive alternatives to the environmental status quo (i.e., the ability of people to imagine what a sustainable relationship with nature would look like) in motivating pro-environmental collective action. Using a representative sample of Canadians on age, gender, and ethnicity ( N = 1,029) we evaluate the associations between access to environmental cognitive alternatives, politicized environmental identity, and willingness to engage in pro-environmental activist behavior. Additionally, we move beyond self-reported behavior by giving participants the opportunity to write and sign a pro-environmental letter to the Canadian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Our results suggest that access to cognitive alternatives is associated with stronger politicized environmental identity, greater willingness to engage in pro-environmental activist behavior, and increased likelihood of writing and signing a pro-environmental letter. All methods and analyses follow our preregistration and all materials and data are openly available.
... Particularly in cases of global environmental challenges, problems can seem so overwhelmingly large and complex that people tend to resign, thinking that their individual contribution is meaningless for the whole outcome. In turn, this leads to rejection of personal responsibility and is sometimes also reflected in attitudes towards mitigation (Frantz and Mayer, 2009). Against the background of climate change, high self-efficacy and strong internal locus of control beliefs are thus of even greater importance for the uptake of mitigation measures. ...
Full-text available
Farmers' adoption of climate change mitigation measures is key to successfully reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. This article investigates the role of non-cognitive skills, namely self-efficacy and locus of control, in farmers' uptake of mitigation measures. The study is based on a combination of survey and census data from 105 farmers in Switzerland. Almost all farmers in our sample already adopt some of the considered measures to reduce greenhouse gases on their farm. On average, 37% of the mitigation measures available to the specific farm type are adopted. We find that a one standard deviation increase in non-cognitive skills is associated with a 20 to 40% higher share of adopted mitigation measures. This relationship is robust to the inclusion of a comprehensive vector of controls, inspired both from the agricultural economics and the psychology literature. Additionally, we find that omitted variable bias would need to be implausibly large to refute our findings. Finally, we explore potential mechanisms. The suggested pathway through which non-cognitive skills are associated with the adoption of climate change mitigation measures is the innovativeness of the farmers. Fostering farmers' non-cognitive skills could be an effective policy lever to accelerate the diffusion of climate change mitigation measures.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and agreed that it is vital for current and future generations to pursue 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Science, education, and sport are seen as drivers and important enablers of sustainable development (SD). Yet, even though all professions are called upon to embed SD into their work to facilitate change, and even though sport and exercise psychology professionals could play an important role in this process, there seems to be only little awareness of the need to contribute to SD as a discipline. This paper aims at changing this by elaborating on the reasons why sport and exercise psychologists should care about SD and the SDGs; it explains how psychologists and their clients can benefit from using the principles of SD to guide their professional work and decision making. It will be illustrated how sport and exercise psychology professionals can promote sustainable physical activity and sustainable elite sport, and how they can contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed societal, and global goals as practitioners, as teachers, and as researchers. Furthermore, the normative dimensions of the concept of SD are being discussed.
Mindfulness has recently been identified as an antecedent of proenvironmental behavior. This study aims to consolidate and expand recent research findings by suggesting that mindfulness is associated with proenvironmental behavior through cognitive reappraisal and climate change awareness. Our findings showed that mindfulness correlated with proenvironmental behavior through both cognitive reappraisal and climate change awareness. Moreover, nature connectedness was found to negatively moderate this relationship: for individuals with greater levels of nature connectedness, the influence of mindfulness on proenvironmental behavior was diminished. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.
This research examines the effects of responsibility attributions and descriptive norms in media messages on climate mitigation intentions. In study 1, we manipulate whether responsibility is attributed to the individual or the government, compared to no attributions at all. In study 2, the effect of descriptive normative information following individual responsibility messages for daily consumption behavior is analyzed. Adding on the results of study 1 and 2, study 3 investigates the interaction effects of individual responsibility attributions (versus no responsibility attributions) and the strength of descriptive norms in user comments. Overall, the results show that media messages attributing individual responsibility have the potential to increase intentions for mitigation behavior when combined with positive descriptive norms in user comments. In contrast, individual responsibility attributions in combination with negative descriptive norms reduce mitigation intentions.
Despite widespread calls to action from the scientific community and beyond, a concerning climate action gap exists. This paper aims to enhance our understanding of the role of connectedness to nature in promoting individual-level climate action in a unique setting where climate research and action are lacking: Canada’s Provincial North. To begin to understand possible pathways, we also examined whether climate worry and talking about climate change with family and friends mediate the relationship between connectedness to nature and climate action. We used data collected via postal surveys in two Provincial North communities, Thunder Bay (Ontario), and Prince George (British Columbia) (n = 628). Results show that connectedness to nature has a direct positive association with individual-level climate action, controlling for gender and education. Results of parallel mediation analyses further show that connectedness to nature is indirectly associated with individual-level climate action, mediated by both climate worry and talking about climate change with family and friends. Finally, results suggest that climate worry and talking about climate change with family and friends serially mediate the relationship between connectedness to nature and with individual-level climate action. These findings are relevant for climate change engagement and action, especially across Canada’s Provincial North, but also in similar settings characterized by marginalization, heightened vulnerability to climate change, urban islands within vast rural and remote landscapes, and economies and social identities tied to resource extraction. Drawing on these findings, we argue that cultivating stronger connections with nature in the places where people live, learn, work, and play is an important and currently underutilized leverage point for promoting individual-level climate action. This study therefore adds to the current and increasingly relevant calls for (re-)connecting with nature that have been made by others across a range of disciplinary and sectoral divides.
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Abstract In this chapter we discuss an important social affective process, its influence on prosocial actions, and how social influence factors may facilitate this process in cross-cultural interpersonal relationships. Specifically, in a series of meta-analyses, we first examine whether prosocial emotions, such as empathy and sympathy, promote altruistic and related other-oriented social behaviors across multiple cultures. If such an association exists, the second question, and the major focus of this chapter, addresses whether empathic or sympathetic responding can be elicited by interpersonal social influence factors (i.e., similarity, observational set, and controllability) that would presumably be extant in these emerging cross-cultural relationships. And, finally, we discuss our findings in terms of cultural differences in conceptions of the self, and how an awareness of these differences may promote a better understanding of the role of social influence in promoting prosocial emotions and behavior in cross-cultural interactions.
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Dunlap and Van Liere's New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale, published in 1978, has become a widely used measure of proenvironmental orientation. This article develops a revised NEP Scale designed to improve upon the original one in several respects: ( 1 ) It taps a wider range of facets of an ecological worldview, ( 2 ) It offers a balanced set of pro- and anti-NEP items, and ( 3 ) It avoids outmoded terminology. The new scale, termed the New Ecological Paradigm Scale, consists of 15 items. Results of a 1990 Washington State survey suggest that the items can be treated as an internally consistent summated rating scale and also indicate a modest growth in pro-NEP responses among Washington residents over the 14 years since the original study.
Presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from 4 principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Factors influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arise from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and behavioral changes. (21/2 p ref)
In 1543, Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus challenged the view that the sun revolved around the earth, arguing instead that the earth revolved around the sun. His paper led to a revolution in thinking. In Lester Brown's brilliant and invigorating account of the industrial economy, he shows how a rethink of its fossil fuel-based, throwaway ethos is necessary to ensure that it works with, not against, the natural environment. The issue now is whether the environment is part of the economy or the economy is part of the environment. Brown argues the latter, pointing out that treating the environment as part of the economy has produced an economy that is destroying its natural support systems. One of the foremost experts on the new economic opportunities, Brown shows the vast economic potential and environmental gains that exist from eliminating the waste and destruction of current consumption. He describes how the global economy can be restructured to make it compatible with the earth's ecosystem so that economic progress can continue, with high standards of living and secure employment for all, while conserving resources and restoring the environment. In the new economy, wind farms replace coal mines, hydrogen-powered fuel cells replace internal combustion engines, and cities are designed for people, not cars. Eco-Economy is a map of how to get from here to there. It is an essential guide to the economy of the 21st century and will be compelling reading for business readers and environmentalists alike looking for ways to build a better future.
Most programs to foster sustainable behavior continue to be based upon models of behavior change that psychological research has found to be limited. Although psychology has much to contribute to the design of effective programs to foster sustainable behavior, little attention has been paid to ensuring that psychological knowledge is accessible to those who design environmental programs. This article presents a process. community-based social marketing, that attempts to make psychological knowledge relevant and accessible to these individuals. Further, it provides two case studies in which program planners have utilized this approach to deliver their initiatives. Finally, it reflects on the obstacles that exist to incorporating psychological expertise into programs to promote sustainable behavior.
Signs were placed in the field house shower rooms of a university campus exhorting people to conserve water and energy by turning off the water while soaping up. Making the signs more obtrusive increased compliance but also increased resentment. Far greater compliance was achieved through a combination of a sign and an accomplice modeling the appropriate behavior. Still greater compliance was achieved when two accomplices performed the requested behavior simultaneously.