The Psychology of Inspiring Everyday Climate Action

And co-benefits make a lot of sense: People might reasonably feel more empowered to affect their own health than the health of the entire planet. Self-efficacy (the perception that a person can change their actions) and response efficacy (the perception that those changes will have positive consequences) are both important predictors of behavior change. Enhancing self-efficacy can involve asking people to take on more modest lifestyle changes, like avoiding beef and taking one less flight a year, rather than going vegan and never flying again. “Not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, I think, is really important,” Nicholas says.

Response efficacy, though, can be tricky. Compared to

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