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Why Aren't We Saving the Planet?: A Psychologist's Perspective

By: Geoffrey Beattie(Author)

269 pages, Col & b/w figs, tabs


Paperback | May 2010 | #188232 | ISBN-13: 9780415561976
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £13.99 $18/€16 approx

About this book

Global warming – many of us believe that it is somebody else's problem, that it will affect other people and that other people will come up with the solution. This is not true. Global warming is a global problem: it will affect every single one of us and will be only be stopped by a huge shift in our individual attitudes and behaviour. So why aren't we already saving the planet?

Why Aren't We Saving the Planet? follows one psychologist's mission to find some answers to this question. Challenged by a student to use psychology to find the root of the problem, the author begins a personal and life-changing journey of discovery. The reader is invited to accompany him as he uses psychological methods to examine people's attitudes to global warming. Along the way we find the author's own attitudes being challenged, as well as our own.

" [...] A thought-provoking, engaging personal account coupled with actual psychological research on this most pertinent global issue."
– Fidelma Butler in The Psychologist

"The planet is in peril on account of human activity. Politicians, philosophers, and various pundits have been proposing ways to reverse the destructive thrust of this activity. Nothing has worked. The reason is that the activity has never been examined in itself as a product of cultural forces. This brilliant book does exactly that and thus provides an enlightened way towards changing the course of human history. By focusing on the signifying cultural roots of destructive human activity, it has opened up a veritable practical path to solving the crises facing the planet. This is required reading for everyone who is interested in our survival."
– Marcel Danesi, University of Toronto, Canada, and Editor of Semiotica

"Many people see consumers as pivotal to helping solve climate change issues. But getting them on board may be a very complex process. Geoffrey Beattie's book represents exactly the type of visionary thinking that is now needed to improve the efficacy of communication in this critical area. His work demonstrates a real milestone in the ability to unravel, understand and change the attitudes of the public and more importantly, their behaviour"
– Fran Cassidy, Director, The Marketing Society

"This is a beautiful work, artistic and literary. The reader is led through the methods and data with a sure hand, and surprises pop up with charm and a generous concern for the reader. I especially admire Geoff's honesty and courage in using his own self as a kind narrative protagonist."
– Professor David McNeill, Center for Gesture and Speech Research, University of Chicago, USA


1. Motivations Implict and Explicit

Part 1. Notes on Attitude
2. Small Things Can Make a Difference
3. Measuring Attitudes to Sustainability -- Easily, Consciously and Wrongly?
4. The Man Who Changed a Fortune Cookie and Started a Revolution
5. The Missing Ingredient is Now Available
6. Uncovering Implicit Attitudes to Carbon Footprint

Part 2. Notes on Perception
7. Unconscious Eye Movements and What the Brain Sees

Part 3. Notes on Habits
8. Eden Reclaimed
9. Old Habits

Part 4. Notes on Dissociation
10. In Two Minds
11. Speech and Revealing Movement
12. In Search of the Green Fakers (In Search of Myself)
13. Taking Big Risks

Part 5. Emotion and Thought
14. An Inconvenient Truth?
15. Reaching Boiling Point?
16. Some Conclusions and Some Action Plans

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Professor Geoffrey Beattie is Head of School and Dean of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester. He is widely regarded as one of the leading international figures on nonverbal communication and has published 15 books, many of which have either won or been short-listed for major international prizes.

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