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PhD ceremony E.J. (Elliot) Sharpe, MSc. Behaving pro-environmentally and supporting environmental policy. The Common Motivational Basis of Pro-Environmental Actions.

When:Fr 24-06-2022 at 09:00
Where:Academy building RUG

PhD ceremony: E.J. (Elliot) Sharpe, MSc
When: June 24, 2022
Start: 09:00
Supervisor: prof. dr. E.M. (Linda) Steg
Co-supervisor: G. (Goda) Perlaviciute, Dr
Where: Academy building RUG
Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Two types of public action are important to combat climate change: engaging in environmentally-friendly behaviour and supporting policies aiming to reduce environmental issues. However, it is unclear from current research what the relationship between these two actions is. If people behave in an environmentally-friendly way will they also support environmental policy? Likewise, will those who support environmental policy also engage in environmentally-friendly behaviour? Or if people engage in one environmentally-friendly action, do they think that gives them license not to do another? In the current thesis, we proposed people are likely to engage in both of these actions if they are intrinsically motivated to protect the environment. By intrinsic motivation, we mean a motivation that comes from within, rather than through external incentives like money. The results of all our studies suggest that people who engage in one environmentally-friendly action, whether it is behaviour or policy support, are more likely to engage in another environmentally-friendly action. Our results also suggest that engaging in these multiple environmentally-friendly actions is driven by people’s intrinsic pro-environmental motivation. Importantly, we find no evidence that behaving environmentally-friendly or supporting environmental policy will get in the way of each other. Taken together, the current thesis suggests that policymakers can both encourage environmentally friendly behaviour and promote public support for environmental policies, without worrying that one will prevent the other.

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