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Psychology and Sociology

Featured Interdisciplinary Initiative

Climate Action Lab

Our mission is to reduce global heating by changing human behavior. We are social scientists—economists, psychologists, urban planners, political scientists, anthropologists, etc. First, we conduct applied research to test what leads people to change their minds about the climate and what leads them to change their actions. Then, we put these insights to work in partnership with communities and policymakers.

Labs, Projects, Programs and Collaborations

Climate Psychology and Action Lab

Our research is concerned with socio-behavioral approaches to get the policy support to dramatically reduce emissions by leaving fossil fuels in the ground, shifting to renewable energy, confronting extractivism and reducing consumption.

Earthlab

The EarthLab has become a model of university-community partnerships for participatory climate action in underserved urban neighborhoods. EarthLab figured prominently in the 2015 report, “Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions to Carbon Neutrality,” presenting EarthLab as a central case study of university-community partnerships for advanced energy solutions in California’s disadvantaged communities.

Featured Researchers and Professors

Adam Aron

Professor, Psychology

Urgent action is needed at a large­ societal scale to prevent the worst consequences of anthropogenic global heating. Better understanding the prospects for such action can come from human psychology. How do people arrive at their beliefs? What is the basis of denial and delay? How does belief flow to action? What kinds of actions can people take on the climate crisis? How and when will they join together? Adam Aron’s research focuses on these questions.

Daniel Driscoll

Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology

Several key questions guide Daniel Driscoll’s research. Why do some states, institutions and people fight for the climate while others do not? What explains how, in some places but not others, movements and policies emerge in response to global climate change? What are the socio-economic foundations of fossil fuel energy use and carbon emissions? He utilizes diverse research methods to answer these questions, from qualitative interviews and ethnography to statistical and comparative-historical methods.

Ivan Evans

Professor, Provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College

Ivan Evans teaches courses on change in modern South Africa, race and ethnicity, political sociology, violence and society, social movements and environmental sociology. Professor Evan's current research focuses on global climate change and the politics of water management in southern Africa.

Fonna Forman

Associate Professor, Political Science

Forman is an advocate for deepening university-community research partnerships. She is Vice-Chair of the University of California Climate Solutions Group and co-editor of "Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions for Carbon and Climate Neutrality,” the University of California report on carbon neutrality. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Climate Neutrality Task Force, the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative, the Urban Studies and Planning Program, the Global Health major, Food and Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21) and the Center for Tomorrow’s California.

Videos

Featured Courses

PSYC 185. Psychology of Climate Crisis

This course provides tools for the student to think about the escalating climate crisis. Urgent action is needed at a large, societal scale to prevent the worst consequences of anthropogenic global heating. Better understanding the prospects for such action can come from human psychology. How do people arrive at their beliefs? What is the basis of denial and delay? How does belief flow to action? What kinds of actions can people take?

SIO 25. Climate Change and Society

Climate change is one of the most complex and critical issues affecting societies today. This course will present the scientific evidence for climate change and its impacts and consider governmental policy responses and possible adaptation strategies.