World Social Science Report 2013

Changing Global Environments

image of World Social Science Report 2013

Produced by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and UNESCO, and published by the OECD, the 2013 World Social Science Report represents a comprehensive overview of the field gathering the thoughts and expertise of hundreds of social scientists from around the world.

This edition focuses on the transformative role of the social sciences in confronting climate and broader processes of environmental change, and in addressing priority problems from energy and water, biodiversity and land use, to urbanisation, migration and education.

The report includes 100 articles written by 150 authors from 41 countries all over the world. Authors represent some 24 disciplines, mainly in the social sciences.

The contributions highlight the central importance of social science knowledge for environmental change research, as a means of understanding changing environments in terms of social processes and as framework for finding concrete solutions towards sustainability.



Individual and collective behaviour change

Negative consequences normally lead people to change their behaviour, but the timelag between behavioural cause and many environmental impacts makes it hard for people to see the connection. Other barriers to change include lack of a fear response and habits. To promote change, new behavioural routines need to be established using default options and social imitation. Existing goal conflicts need to be minimised by better communication of the co-benefits of environmental goals. Since many people in developing countries aspire to a western lifestyle that adversely affects the global environment, different models of human happiness need to be explored.


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