Climate change has been labelled as the greatest threat to our future and that of generations to come. In recognition of this threat, almost 200 nations agreed to fight this environmental problem caused by human behaviour. So which factors induce environmentally harmful behaviour and what motivates us to act pro-environmentally? What determines the impact and acceptability of interventions that aim to encourage pro-environmental actions and a sustainable energy transition?Questions like these are essential for reaching our environmental ambitions and are addressed in the Master’s programme ‘Environmental psychology’.
The role of social science in understanding and tackling environmental and energy-related problems is key and emphasized in the leading journals Nature, Nature Climate Change and Nature Energy. Governments, industries, and companies want to understand the human dimension of sustainable development. For example, sustainable solutions such as electric cars or wind parks will not be successful if they are not accepted and adopted by the public. As an environmental psychologist, you will develop knowledge about which factors influence people’s environmental attitudes and behaviours, as well as public acceptability of energy sources, systems, and policies. This knowledge and expertise will equip you for job opportunities that focus on finding effective and societally acceptable solutions for environmental and energy-related problems.
The Environmental psychology group at the University of Groningen is a world leader in the field. For example, the group organised the 11th International Conference in Environmental Psychology, and coordinates the European Platform for Energy Research in the Socio-Economic Nexus (PERSON). The group is involved in many research projects where we collaborate with other disciplines, practitioners, and experts in various countries. Linda Steg, the head of the group, is selected as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher in 2014 and 2016, a list representing world’s most influential scientific minds.