APA Determines the 6 Psychological Barriers to Going Green

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Want to know why getting people to go green is such a slow process? For environmentally aware folks, some days it can feel like snails accomplish more. This just in from the therapist’s chair: look no further than the American Psychological Association task force report (APA) on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change if you want to learn why. Examining decades of psychological research and practice specifically applied and tested in the arena of climate change, the task force report has determined that there are six predominant psychological barriers getting in the way of progress.

They are:


The continual argument in the scientific and political community over whether climate change is “fact or fiction” reduces the likelihood of green behaviour.


Evidence shows that mostly people don’t trust the messengers and therefore, don’t trust the message.


The old favorite. According to various polls, there is still a substantial minority of people who believe in neither in the reality of climate change nor the idea that human activity is responsible.

Undervaluing Risks

While many people believe that  environmental conditions will worsen, they also believe that it’s not happening yet and that there is still plenty of time to make changes.

Lack of Control

Many people choose to do nothing because they believe that their actions would be too small to make a difference.


Ingrained behaviours are the most difficult obstacle to creating change of any type.

The full APA task force report, which expands in these and other psychological barriers to going green as well as looking at the psychosocial impact of climate change, is available online.

It’s valuable information which could help policymakers, scientists, and yes, even marketers, find ways to help people alter their ways.

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