Resource links


Psychology of Change - video talk by Sophy Banks  from the Transtion Network

In 2006 Sophy co-founded the “Heart and Soul” group of Transition Town Totnes, addressing the psychological and spiritual dimensions of Transition. Here she talks about the stages of coming to terms with climate change.

Watch here



Merchants of Doubt

by Naomi  Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

Merchants of Doubt identifies parallels between the climate change debate and earlier controversies over tobacco smokingacid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. Oreskes and Conway write that in each case "keeping the controversy alive" by spreading doubt and confusion after a scientific consensus had been reached, was the basic strategy of those opposing action

Engaging with Climate Change

Edited by Sally Weintrobe

See book review

Psychology for a Better World: Strategies to Inspire Sustainability

by Nikki Harre

Psychology for a Better World is for people who believe it is worth trying to make a world in which both our species and the ecological systems we are part of can flourish. 

Free download 

Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life

by Kari Marie Noorgard

Sociologist Norgaard records the response of rural Norwegians to climate change. She analyses the contradictory feelings Norwegians experience in reconciling their life in a wealthy country that is at once a major producer and consumer of fossil fuels and, at the same time, has a reputation of being a world leader in its concern for the environment, human development, and international peace. 


The Debunking Handbook

by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky

Debunking myths is problematic. Unless great care is taken, any effort to debunk misinformation can inadvertently reinforce the very myths one seeks to correct. To avoid these “backfire effects”, an effective debunking requires three major elements. First, the refutation must focus on core facts rather than the myth to avoid the misinformation becoming more familiar. Second, any mention of a myth should be preceded by explicit warnings to notify the reader that the upcoming information is false. Finally, the refutation should include an alternative explanation that accounts for important qualities in the original misinformation.

Download here

How does a national climate change campaign reach beyond the concerned minority to a broader, more diverse sector of the British public? 

We’ve produced a summary of our work for the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change, examining how narrative workshops informed a national climate change campaign.

COIN employed its unique methodology of narrative workshops to steer the Coalition’s upcoming two year campaign towards more inclusive messaging.  By testing and refining language and narrative directly with target audiences, COIN identified messages that worked across a diversity of groups, including those with more conservative values.  Whilst reinvigorating traditional support, the campaign now has the flexibility to appeal to those harder to reach audiences so crucial for effective action on climate change.

Download here

The psychological and emotional impacts of climate change have not been widely understood or discussed outside academic circles, but that’s beginning to change. The American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica have reviewed the literature on the psychological aspects of climate change impacts, releasing their findings in a publicly available report addressing mental, physical and community well-being. Among other things, it finds climate change impacts on communities could lead to a break down in social fabric, especially for communities burdened with the legacy of racism and poverty. But at the same time, “focusing on community-level capacities may also be the most efficient and effective way to build the resilience necessary for individuals and communities to successfully prepare for and cope with the potential psychological impacts of climate change.” 

Download PDF here

Common Cause: The case for working with our cultural values (2010)

by Tom Compton, Change Strategist at WWF-UK

Simplified, the work presented here on values points to a distinction between two broad classes of value: intrinsic or self-transcendent values, and extrinsic or self enhancing values. 

Intrinsic values include the value placed on a sense of community, affiliation to friends and family, and self-development. Extrinsic values, on the other hand, are values that are contingent upon the perceptions of others – they relate to envy of ‘higher’ social strata, admiration of material wealth, or power.  

Download here

 Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus 

Why do members of the public disagree—sharply and persistently—about facts on which expert scientists largely agree? We designed a study to test a distinctive explanation: the cultural cognition of scientific consensus. The “cultural cognition of risk” refers to the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions that are congenial to their values.

Download here

Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States. 

Aaron M. McCright & Riley E. Dunlap  

Download here

A Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology & Global Climate Change

Psychology and Global ClimateChange: Addressing a Multi-faceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges

Download here

Reports  -   George Marshall's blog explores the topic of the psychology of climate change denial - with observations and anecdotes about our weird and disturbed response to the problem. 

Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN)

COIN is a ‘think and do’ tank focused on connecting people to climate change and climate change to people. 

Communicates, connect and catalyse action on climate change through  three major areas of work.

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication: Bridging Science and Society.

  • Conducts research on public climate knowledge, risk perceptions, decision-making and behavior;
  • Designs and tests new strategies to engage the public in climate science and solutions; 
  • Empowers educators and communicators with the knowledge and tools to more effectively engage their audiences.

Stephan Lewandowsky  Professor, School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol Shaping Tomorrow's World

George Monbiot's blog on climate change

Glenn Albrecht is professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia.

Climate Outreach and Information Network - COIN - a ‘think and do’ tank focused on connecting people to climate change and climate change to people

Marshall Ganz Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University. Online courses - Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change

Public Conversation Project: prevents and transforms conflicts driven by deep differences in identity, beliefs, or values.