Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity

Source: WWF-UK

Author(s): Tom Crompton, Tim Kasser

Year: 2009

Excerpt:

The epochal scale of today’s environmental challenges is now beyond serious scientific dispute. Awareness of the scale of these challenges grows ever greater – in the case of climate change, it seems that the prognoses of climatologists grow yet more urgent on an almost weekly basis. And as this awareness grows, so too does our understanding of the gulf between what needs to be done and what is actually being done.

The environmental movement has achieved a great deal in attempting to meet these environmental challenges, investing remarkable effort with limited funding against powerful countervailing forces. In these attempts, the environmental movement pursues two basic types of strategy: engaging organisations (both government and businesses) and engaging the particular behaviours that individual citizens pursue. Here we present an overview of these two strategies as a prelude to introducing a third approach to which we feel the environmental movement must pay close attention. We believe that this third approach, which we call identity campaigning, holds substantial promise for enhancing the effectiveness of the movement’s current work and for developing useful strategies for new types of intervention.

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