Environmental Psychology Expertise group: what motivates people to display sustainable behaviour?
What motivates people to display sustainable behaviour?
Climate change is one of the greatest threats of our time. Many people recognize that climate change is caused by our behaviour, and that action is needed to combat this. But are people willing to make a personal contribution to the cause, for example by using less energy from fossil sources and eating less meat and dairy products? And which policies can effectively encourage sustainable behaviour? The Environmental Psychology Expertise group, including Thijs Bouman, Lise Jans, Goda Perlaviciute, Linda Steg and Ellen van der Werff, are investigating this.
It is often thought that people only show sustainable behaviour if it directly benefits themselves. Thus, if sustainable behaviour was more attractive, people would increasingly display it. Yet the effectiveness of price incentives is often disappointing – our behaviour is not only determined by financial considerations; social and moral ones also play an important role. We behave sustainably because others expect it from us, because others do the same, or because we want to do something good.
It is therefore important to provide insight into the extent to which others behave in a sustainable way, and the extent to which various behaviour patterns have positive effects for others and the environment. In addition, people are motivated to be consistent. Emphasizing what people are doing wrong, which is now often the message, can therefore be counterproductive. By emphasizing what people are already doing to combat climate change, they will see themselves as someone who displays sustainable behaviour, which motivates them to behave even more sustainably, because that matches how they see themselves.
|Last modified:||16 April 2020 2.37 p.m.|