Why Aren't We Saving the Planet?
A Psychologist's Perspective
Routledge – 2010 – 284 pages
Routledge – 2010 – 284 pages
Global warming. Many of us believe that it is somebody else’s problem, that it will affect other people and that other people will come up with the solution. This is not true. "Global" warming is a global problem: it will affect every single one of us and will only be stopped by a huge shift in our individual attitudes and behaviour. Each time one of us switches on a light, reaches for something in a supermarket, gets into a car or bus, or even chooses what clothes to buy, we are making a choice that can affect the environment. We already know that we need to start making better choices for the sake of our natural world, now.
So why aren’t we already saving the planet? This book follows one psychologist’s mission to find some answers to this question. Challenged by a student to use psychology to find the root of the problem, Geoffrey Beattie (an environmental "unbeliever") begins a personal and life-changing journey of discovery. The reader is invited to accompany him as he uses psychological methods to examine people’s attitudes to global warming. Along the way we find the author’s own attitudes being challenged, as well as our own.
This ground-breaking book reflects new and innovative research being carried out into how to change attitudes to the environment and how to encourage sustainable behaviour. It is eminently readable and interesting and, as such, should be read by anyone who is concerned about the future of our planet. In fact, you should also read it if you’re not concerned about our planet.
"…A thought-provoking, engaging personal account coupled with actual psychological research on this most pertinent global issue." – Fidelma Butler in The Psychologist
"The planet is in peril on account of human activity. Politicians, philosophers, and various pundits have been proposing ways to reverse the destructive thrust of this activity. Nothing has worked. The reason is that the activity has never been examined in itself as a product of cultural forces. This brilliant book does exactly that and thus provides an enlightened way towards changing the course of human history. By focusing on the signifying cultural roots of destructive human activity, it has opened up a veritable practical path to solving the crises facing the planet. This is required reading for everyone who is interested in our survival." - Marcel Danesi, University of Toronto, Canada, and Editor of Semiotica
"Many people see consumers as pivotal to helping solve climate change issues. But getting them on board may be a very complex process. Geoffrey Beattie's book represents exactly the type of visionary thinking that is now needed to improve the efficacy of communication in this critical area. His work demonstrates a real milestone in the ability to unravel, understand and change the attitudes of the public and more importantly, their behaviour" - Fran Cassidy, Director, The Marketing Society
"This is a beautiful work, artistic and literary. The reader is led through the methods and data with a sure hand, and surprises pop up with charm and a generous concern for the reader. I especially admire Geoff's honesty and courage in using his own self as a kind narrative protagonist." – Professor David McNeill, Center for Gesture and Speech Research, University of Chicago, USA
1. Motivations Implict and Explicit. Part 1. Notes on Attitude. 2. Small Things Can Make a Difference. 3. Measuring Attitudes to Sustainability – Easily, Consciously and Wrongly? 4. The Man Who Changed a Fortune Cookie and Started a Revolution. 5. The Missing Ingredient is Now Available. 6. Uncovering Implicit Attitudes to Carbon Footprint. Part 2. Notes on Perception. 7. Unconscious Eye Movements and What the Brain Sees. Part 3. Notes on Habits. 8. Eden Reclaimed. 9. Old Habits. Part 4. Notes on Dissociation. 10. In Two Minds. 11. Speech and Revealing Movement. 12. In Search of the Green Fakers (In Search of Myself). 13.Taking Big Risks. Part 5. Emotion and Thought. 14. An Inconvenient Truth? 15. Reaching Boiling Point? 15. Some Conclusions and Some Action Plans. References.
Professor Geoffrey Beattie is Head of School and Dean of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester. He is widely regarded as one of the leading international figures on nonverbal communication and has published 15 books, many of which have either won or been short-listed for major international prizes. He was the resident psychologist on all nine 'Big Brother' series and his television credits also include ‘Ghost Hunting with Celebrities’ (ITV), 'Child Of Our Time' (BBC1) and numerous documentaries on ITV and Channel 4. He is also a regular contributor to 'Richard and Judy', the 'Lorraine Kelly Show', 'GMTV', the 'Extreme Celebrity' shows, 'BBC News 24' and 'Sky News'.
Professor Beattie’s academic publications have appeared in a wide variety of international journals including Nature, Semiotica, The British Journal of Psychology, and the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. He has also written for a diverse range of newspapers and magazines including: The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The New Statesman, and Marie Claire.