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Motivating individuals for social transition: The 2-pathway model and experiential strategies for pro-environmental behaviour

Ute B. Thiermann and William R. Sheate

Ecological Economics, 2020, vol. 174, issue C

Abstract: Many ecological economists advocate the need to evolve beyond capitalism if we want to flourish as a society as well as respect the safe boundaries of our planet. While becoming clearer of the shape and underlying value-structure of such a new system, we also need to think about how we can motivate people to take part in such a major social transition. This paper tackles this question by critically evaluating the underlying hedonistic-normative assumptions of current mainstream models for pro-environmental behaviours (PEB). In a self-determination theory perspective on human motivation and well-being, the paper proposes a 2-pathway model of PEB that integrates a relational pathway for environmental motivation. Based on insights from neurobiology and psychology, this paper advances current PEB theories and lays the groundwork for a new category of environmental interventions: experiential strategies. Thus, the 2-pathway model provides important theoretical insights into the link between mindfulness and sustainable lifestyles, as well as the interface between environmental behaviours and well-being. By recognising and investing in the relational capacities of individuals, we might be able to promote a society that prioritises self-actualisation over self-interest.

Keywords: Environmental interventions; Pro-environmental behaviour; Sustainable transition; Mindfulness; Eudaimonic well-being; Relational values (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106668

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