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A psychological trick to turn people green: show how environmentalism will help their own goals

13 February 2017

New research suggests that a good strategy for encouraging people to care about climate change is to focus on the impact on goals that they already hold as personally important.

It's generally accepted that the best way to encourage people to care about climate change is to push the basic message that it is a real phenomenon, that human activity is contributing to it and that we must mitigate it through action.

New research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests a slightly different approach, however - greener actions must be tied to goals that are already personally important to someone.

In the study, carried out jointly by researchers from the University of Leeds and University of Melbourne, participants were told that their company was closing its car park and offering a public transport subsidy in return.

The group where purely environmental justification was given for this decision were far less enthusiastic than those who had also been given more personal potential benefits of the closure, such as saving money or encouraging exercise.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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