Why there is a lack of motivation for environmental protection

Despite the often communicated real Threat of climate change, many people hesitate to act. But why do we lack self-motivation?


According to the latest climate report from the United Nations, climate change can have serious consequences for flora and fauna in the next 10 years. Art Markman, PhD explains why many people still don't act for environmental protection. He is a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and author of the book Smart Change.

1. I'll just do it the day after tomorrow

What comes next week, next month, next year always feels very far away. That's why we eat chocolate today, even though we want to fit in our jeans next month. Why should we do without the SUV today when we don't feel any effect on the weather? Studies show that people often overestimate short-term benefits and neglect long-term benefits. Ignoring environmental protection also makes life easier. Because there are always challenges to change.

2. Not clear, because not linear

Global warming is not linear, but in spurts. That's hard for us to understand. Simply put, every day for 5 Euro one Latte Macchiato buy, I can easily figure out how much I have in a week ausgeben to, However, if I eat unhealthily for years and do not exercise, I'm still surprised to be diabeticized one day. This development is too abstract, since it is linear and then exponential. A possible sudden deterioration of the conditions is often not taken into account. People are much better at dealing with obvious threats, such as not crossing the street during traffic and not in the forest at night spazieren.

3. Too far away and uncertain

The consequences of climate change are felt to be very far away, not only in the future, but also locally and socially. Natural disasters or the melting of ice happen in places where the majority of the population does not live. Therefore, they are often conceptualized and affect our emotions only a little. The future is also uncertain: Many are viewed with skepticism not only with regard to their own lives, but also the consequences of global warming predicted by experts.

The solution is to reduce the psychological distance

Art Markman says that only if the psychological distance to the consequences of climate change is reduced will people be motivated to act. Therefore, he calls not only to become active, but also to sweep away our fellow human beings.

Who deals with the UN report familiarizing and talking to friends and acquaintances about how our lives will be affected by climate change can act as an influencer and advocate. Above all, draw attention to the fact that climate change is not far off, on the contrary, it is already tangible. There are always skeptics, but here too the conflict should be avoided and conversation encouraged. Even if only 30% of the predicted consequences occur, this can change our planet drastically.

Our personal value system is of central importance

Those who prefer to enrich themselves today at the expense of future generations make a choice that may not even be behind them. Of course we want to live a good life, and we want it to stay that way. But consciously with sense and understanding. Even small changes, such as switching off lights and using public transport, serve to protect our planet in the long term. You can find our infographic on the 5 ultimate climate protection tips for everyday life here.


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