On my MSc this year at Schumacher College, I took a three-week module called “The Economics of Happiness.” On that module, we were taught for one week by psychologist Tim Kasser, author of “The High Price of Materialism”. A new book by Tim and Tom Crompton has been released by the World Wildlife Fund and Greenbooks and is available to download free. The publication examines those fundamental aspects of human identity that operate to frustrate approaches to meeting environmental challenges.
The study suggests that some environmental campaigning currently operates inadvertently to exacerbate these unhelpful aspects of identity. It also points to ways in which environmental organisations could begin to work in order to activate more helpful aspects of identity. Finally, it highlights new opportunities for collaborations across diverse civil society organisations to begin to address fundamental barriers to delivery on a range of concerns – from biodiversity loss to poverty alleviation, and racism to animal welfare abuses.
“Never have environmental problems appeared so insuperable. Whatever the past victories of the environment movement, we need a new and deeper approach – one that begins to engage the human values and identities that lie at the heart of environmental challenges. Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity does not flinch in insisting on both the possibility and the absolute necessity of working in this way. As such, it makes a clear and important contribution to a realistic response to today’s environmental crisis.”