Posted by: Jon | 28/11/2010

Slaying the “Dragons of Unsustainability”

Around this time last year I wrote a post about “The ‘dragons’ of unsustainable behaviour” – the thirteen main motivational and psychological barriers put forward at that time by psychology professor Robert Gifford as preventing us from acting on climate change.

In the months since it seems the dragons have been breeding. Back then Dr. Gifford identified three distinct types of ‘dragon’ (or behavioural factor) which he further sub-divided into thirteen dragon species. But now he has identified four more dangerous ‘dragon genera’, and a total of twenty-nine different but related species! Fortunately he has also come up with some ways in which we can slay them.

You can meet all of Dr Gifford’s 29 dragons here and revisit the original 13 (which he says still stand as the main reasons for inertia in acting on climate change and sustainability) here.

Robert Gifford, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, was one of the authors of the recently published extensive report from the American Psychological Association, ‘Psychology and Climate Change’ that I referred to a couple of posts back.

One of the report’s other authors was Dr. Joseph Reser, also a respected environmental psychologist and a professor at the School of Psychology, Griffith University, Queensland.

Both Drs. Gifford and Reser were interviewed recently about the psychology of climate change belief and denial by Alex Smith on Radio Ecoshock. As the protracted and unwieldy inter-governmental climate talks resume tomorrow in Cancun and most observers are adamant these will no more achieve co-ordinated top-down action than did last year’s sessions in Copenhagen, what Robert Gifford and Joseph Reser each have to say about why we are not acting from the bottom up is important listening. You can listen to the broadcast on Radio Ecoshock here.

If you prefer a more ‘Radio 4’ style of broadcasting, Robert Gifford and Joseph Reser were also interviewed last September by Corrine Podger for the informative All In The Mind programme on Australia’s ABC Radio. Listen here.


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