Science for Society: What Spurs Action on Climate Change?

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Borrowing from the title of a recent Oscar-winning film, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres last year declared that “the world needs climate action on all fronts—everything, everywhere, all at once.” 

APS Fellow Taciano Milfont pointed to that statement in describing the multilevel approach that psychological science is showing to be vital to battling climate change. Milfont, a professor at the University of Waikato in New Zealand was one of three scientists participating in a June 26 webinar, “What Spurs Action on Climate Change?” The event was the latest in APS’s Science for Society series.  

Milfont and his co-panelists, Sara Constantino of Northeastern University and Madalina Vlasceanu of Stanford University, discussed research pinpointing the factors that motivate individuals to reduce their carbon footprints and live more sustainably. But they also emphasized the need to calibrate behavioral interventions with community and institutional initiatives to combat climate change. 


Photo of Madalina Vlasceanu

Madalina Vlasceanu

Stanford University

Madalina Vlasceanu is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and Director of the Climate Cognition Lab. Her research focuses on the cognitive and social processes giving rise to climate action at the individual, collective, and systemic level.

Sara Constantino

Northeastern University
Photo of Taciano Milfont

Taciano Milfont

The University of Waikato

Taciano Milfont directs the Environmental Psychology Lab and has taught courses in this field since 2010. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and served on the American Psychological Association’s 2022 Task Force on Climate Change.