29 episodes

What *really* gets people to make an environmental change? Environmental engineer, designer, and author, Katie Patrick, takes you on a wild intellectual journey into the heart of the environmental psyche. For each episode, Katie hunts down the academic literature on the psychology of what gets people to take pro-environmental action and interviews experts in behavioral science and gamification from top research labs such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford University to unearth teachings you can use in your campaign, program, or startup. Warning: best for deep sustainability nerds.

How to Save the World | A Podcast About the Psychology of Environmental Action Katie Patrick

    • Science
    • 4.7 • 7 Ratings

What *really* gets people to make an environmental change? Environmental engineer, designer, and author, Katie Patrick, takes you on a wild intellectual journey into the heart of the environmental psyche. For each episode, Katie hunts down the academic literature on the psychology of what gets people to take pro-environmental action and interviews experts in behavioral science and gamification from top research labs such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford University to unearth teachings you can use in your campaign, program, or startup. Warning: best for deep sustainability nerds.

    The Neuroscience of Climate Doom vs Climate Solutions With Professor Joshua Carlson

    The Neuroscience of Climate Doom vs Climate Solutions With Professor Joshua Carlson

    Have you ever had a hunch that scary or negative images of climate change could turn people away or cause them to shut down? This is what professor Joshua Carlson from North Michigan University has been studying in his cognitive science lab.

    Environmental communications has often used "negative" images such as drought, fire, melting glaciers, pollution, or deforestation. However, we also use "positive" images that show solutions such as solar panels, green roofs, or wind turbines.

    Joshua's research tested the effect that positive (solutions-oriented) images and negative (problem-orientated) images had on people's attention and cognition. In this episode, he'll be sharing his insights on how negative climate images were found to slow attention and cause a "freezing" effect which has serious implications for how we communicate about climate change.

    Get a copy of How to Save the World on Amazon

    Sign up to katiepatrick.com for my free video course on environmental gamification and behavior design.

    Follow me on Twitter @katiepatrick, Instagram @katiepatrickhello, and LinkedIn

    Contribute a monthly donation at patreon.com/katiepatrick to help me continue to make these episodes possible.

    Thank you to Jordan, Nader, Mike, Gary, Alex, Ben, Dee, and Ian for contributing! Xx

    • 51 min
    The Real Psychology of Why We Make Environmental Changes, with Professor Florian Kaiser

    The Real Psychology of Why We Make Environmental Changes, with Professor Florian Kaiser

    You’ve probably heard people say that "You just need to make (an environmentally polluting thing) expensive." Monetary incentives DO work to motivate people, but how much and for how long? And are there other more effective ways to change behavior than literally paying people to go green?

    In this episode, I speak with professor Florian Kaiser. He’s a former Co-Chief-Editor Journal of Environmental Psychology; Professor of Personality and Social Psychology; Otto-von-Guericke University; in Germany and he’s published many many papers on how environmental attitude influences behavior (which aren’t always the same thing) and some of the less obvious difficulties in getting financial incentives work to drive pro-environmental behavior.

    Professor Kaiser explains the deeper nuances of how attitude drives behavior from his research into The Campbell Effect. We explore why the value-action gap can be untrue, and how sustainability program designers can't isolate a single behavior out of the context of a person's wider environmental value system. Behavioral nudges, gamification, and incentives work, but they work best on people with high environmental attitudes - and with an environmentally attuned audience, the behaviors will stick long term. His insights illustrate that we can't short-change the development of a person's deeper environmental attitude and jump straight to simple behavioral incentives if we want to achieve deep and permanent social change. 

    Professor Kaiser's LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/fgkaiser/

    Professor Kaiser's Published Research https://www.ipsy.ovgu.de/ipsy/en/fgk-path-980,1404,31,196-p-210.html

    Get a copy of How to Save the World on Amazon

    Sign up to katiepatrick.com for my free video course on environmental gamification and behavior design.

    Follow me on Twitter @katiepatrick, Instagram @katiepatrickhello, and LinkedIn

    Contribute a monthly donation at patreon.com/katiepatrick to help me continue to make these episodes possible.

    Thank you to Jordan, Nader, Mike, Gary, Alex, Ben, Dee, and Ian for contributing! Xx

    • 1 hr 17 min
    The Secret of How Individual Actions Lead To Tipping Points with Professor Jan Willem Bolderdijk

    The Secret of How Individual Actions Lead To Tipping Points with Professor Jan Willem Bolderdijk

    Do individual behaviors make a difference?
    We are often asked to take personal action to help the planet like eating less meat and riding more bikes—but many decree individual behavior as limited and naive in the face of powerful companies and governments. So, how does mass change really come about? There’s more to it than a simple individual-vs-system dichotomy.
    The core mechanism of how change unfolds through societies is by people — our sensitivities to groups, perceptions, trends, and imitation and the social trends that are passed from human to human that lead to bigger systems changes such as laws, taxes, technologies, and urban design, are carried on the back of human behaviors.
    Jan Willem Bolderdijk is an associate professor and researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He studies how small groups of people influence bigger systems with respect to sustainability and climate change.
    Jan's research papers here:

    Minority influence in climate change mitigation

    “How do you know someone's vegan?” They won't always tell you. An empirical test of the do-gooder's dilemma

    Why going green feels good

    Sign up to my group, The Imagine Project at katiepatrick.com/imagine - we've got a group on Discord and a monthly Zoom devoted to building a movement of imagining a better world.

    I'd love to learn of your thoughts, ideas, artworks about imagining an ecologically harmonious future. Send me a DM or email at kp@helloworlde.com.

    Get a copy of How to Save the World on Amazon

    Sign up to katiepatrick.com for more free environmental gamification and behavior design resources.

    Follow me on Twitter @katiepatrick, Instagram @katiepatrickhello, and LinkedIn

    Contribute a monthly donation at patreon.com/katiepatrick to help me continue to make these episodes possible.

    Thank you to Jordan, Nader, Mike, Gary, Alex, Ben, Dee, and Ian for contributing! Xx

    • 1 hr 18 min
    How Environmental Imagination Exercises Lead to Behavioral and Political Action with Joshua D. Wright

    How Environmental Imagination Exercises Lead to Behavioral and Political Action with Joshua D. Wright

    Are you getting sick of messages of climate doom and dystopia? There’s another way to talk about the future.

    In this episode, I'm chatting with Professor Joshua D. Wright on his fascinating research into the power of the “environmental imagination” and how it drives both practical behavior change as well as political action. It’s about communicating “solutions” instead of “problems” – and it makes a dramatic difference to how people respond to the information, form groups, and lead movements. The effect of thinking of an alternative world is more subtle and nuanced than it seems.

    I think this might be the first research investigating the effect that looking at, and thinking about, ecotopian futures has on our pro-environmental behavior. I have a hunch that this research might be part of a growing zeitgeist of people moving out of overwhelm and into empowerment and agency over the future of our planet.

    Find his paper here https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494420306885

    Sign up to my group, The Imagine Project at katiepatrick.com/imagine - we've got a group on Discord and a monthly Zoom devoted to building a movement of imagining a better world.

    I'd love to learn of your thoughts, ideas, artworks about imagining an ecologically harmonious future. Send me a DM or email at kp@helloworlde.com.

    Get a copy of How to Save the World on Amazon

    Sign up to katiepatrick.com for more free environmental gamification and behavior design resources.

    Follow me on Twitter @katiepatrick, Instagram @katiepatrickhello, and LinkedIn

    Contribute a monthly donation at patreon.com/katiepatrick to help me continue to make these episodes possible.

    Thank you to Jordan, Nader, Mike, Gary, Alex, Ben, Dee, and Ian for contributing! Xx

    • 1 hr 18 min
    14 Things You Need To Do To Become An Effective Environmental Leader with Katie

    14 Things You Need To Do To Become An Effective Environmental Leader with Katie

    What is environmental leadership? Everyone who is trying to improve the world needs to activate people to do things they have not done before – and every time you are trying to persuade people (especially many people) you are practicing the art of environmental leadership. In this episode, I go through 14 specific things you need to do in order to activate a group of people to make change happen. These techniques are based on the social science of group dynamic theory, social network analysis, social imitation, tipping points, behavioral science, and good ol' human bonding. 

    There are many climate and sustainability-themed groups that meet regularly to learn, talk, and network. These groups are nice, but this style of group fails at implementing the core principles that can make a group a powerful force for change. 

    You've probably heard that famous quote by Margaret Mead, "Never think that a small group of people can't change the world. It is in fact, the only thing that ever has." By implementing the 14 techniques in this podcast, you'll be able to step up as an environmental leader of a group (even if it's just a group of a few friends), activate other humans around you, and have the kind of influence in the world you want to have. You might be surprised at how quickly it works!

    I may host an environmental leadership workshop sometime soon. Send me a DM or email at kp@helloworlde.com if you like the sound of it! 

    Get a copy of How to Save the World on Amazon

    Sign up to katiepatrick.com for more free environmental gamification and behavior design resources.

    Follow me on Twitter @katiepatrick, Instagram @katiepatrickhello, and LinkedIn

    Contribute a monthly donation at patreon.com/katiepatrick to help me continue to make these episodes possible.

    Thank you to Jordan, Nader, Mike, Gary, Alex, Ben, Dee, and Ian for contributing! Xx

    • 34 min
    Guided Meditation To Unlock Your Creativity and Imagine a New Earth

    Guided Meditation To Unlock Your Creativity and Imagine a New Earth

    In order to build a new world, we must first imagine what it will be. In the episode, I created a guided meditation you can use to enter a deep state of relaxation which allows you to experience different brain frequencies that bring out new creative ideas, visions, and inspiration that isn't possible while using your regular "busy" executive functioning style of thinking. Take a quiet 35 minutes of uninterrupted time to listen to this meditation. The meditation will take you through a body scan followed by a guided story that will help unlock your creative energy and shine a light on how you'll use it to transform the world. 

    This meditation is part of my work to launch The IMAGINE Project. Its mission is to kick off a movement to help people imagine the world we DO want (instead of worrying about the one we don't). Sign up to get a free Earth Imagination Kit at http://katiepatrick.com/imagine and get an invitation to join the community and monthly group Zoom calls.

    Email or DM me your thoughts, ideas, and feedback about this meditation (and the podcast in general) and time at kp@helloworlde.com - I'd love to hear from you. 

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Science

Hidden Brain
Alie Ward
CBS News Radio
Bret Weinstein & Heather Heying
Sam Harris
Jordan Harbinger

You Might Also Like

Global Optimism
Hidden Brain
New York Times Opinion
Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
The New York Times
WNYC Studios