Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Human Motivations Panel

Human Motivations For and Against Climate Action


Moderator: Associate Professor Robyn Mallett, Loyola University Chicago
Presenters: Susan Clayton, Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies, College of Wooster; and Elke U. Weber, Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business and Professor of Management and Psychology, Columbia University

Dr. Susan Clayton, PhD: Can Psychology Help Save the World? Motivating pro-environmental behavior. (Dr. Clayton's complete presentation.)

Abstract
Do people feel a sense of connection or relationship to nature? What might that look like, and why would it matter? Susan Clayton will discuss the idea of environmental identity: what it is, where it comes from, and how it can make a difference in promoting sustainable behavior. She'll describe several cases where factors related to identity have been used to create concern and promote behavior change.

Dr. Elke U. Weber, PhD: Climate Change Demands Behavioral Change What are the Challenges? (Dr. Weber's complete presentation.)

Abstract
‌Elke Weber will review some well-documented obstacles to wise decisions with longer time horizons that promote sustainability of human habitation on planet Earth. These include excessive discounting of future costs and benefit, a strong status quo bias, and wishful thinking/denial in the face of large and seemingly insolvable problems.  She will then provide several examples where small changes in the way a decision is framed or in the mindset of the decision maker have made large differences in people’s decisions and behaviors, by changing the decision maker’s mental model about the decision, or by priming values and goals that naturally focus attention on longer time horizons.