Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice
Edited by Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer
Chapter 1: The psychology of behaviour change: an overview of theoretical and practical contributions
Current global trends indicate that our impact on the environment is considerable; illustrated particularly in the ways in which carbon dioxide emissions through the combustion of fossil fuels have steadily increased over the past decade (IPCC, 2007). It is now generally understood that behaviour changes need to become a more central aspect of the move towards a low carbon society. For example, a survey of US households indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from households could be reduced by up to 20 per cent through behaviour changes (Dietz et al., 2009). In the environmental policy arena, the idea of encouraging ‘behaviour changes’ and ‘lifestyle changes’ in order to reduce carbon footprints is gaining more and more attention (DEFRA, 2008). Social and environmental psychologists have explored various ways to encourage people to adopt environmentally-friendly behaviours in order to alleviate the effects of human impacts on the environment (see Swim et al., 2009).
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