"We" make(s) a difference: The social psychology of climate action.
Keynote Lecture by Immo Fritsche (University Leipzig)
Tackling global climate change needs individuals who act in a way that reduces climate gas emissions. This includes both private everyday conduct as well as engagement in activist behavior or acceptance of green policies. However, given that climate change cannot be affected by a single individual, feelings of personal helplessness and irrationality of personal action often hamper personal action. Only action of collectives seems efficacious to make an effect. Thus, people may only be motivated to engage in pro-climate action when they perceive their individual behavior as being part of a collective action. However, most research on the determinants of personal environmental action only focuses on individualistic factors, such as personal cost-benefit ratios or personal efficacy. I will briefly review this research before I sketch a more recent model of collective climate action factors. Here, individuals’ climate action should crucially depend on whether people identify as members of a group (e.g., their environmental group, nation, or generation) that they perceive to have pro-environmental norms and collective efficacy. I also discuss the role of these factors for effective strategies to foster people’s climate action.