Common Cause Foundation (CCF) cuts to the heart of one of the most pressing challenges we face: lack of vocal and sustained public demand for action to mitigate climate change. Our research, drawing on collaboration with some of the world’s most eminent social psychologists, shows that public demand for systemic action on climate change will be fostered by appealing to deeply held values that cut across issues. Only by working in this way it is possible to overcome the problems of “I can’t be bothered” or “my voice won’t make a difference”.

Common Cause Foundation

Grant given: 2016

Grant amount: 535.000 NOK

Common Cause Foundation

Common Cause Foundation (CCF) cuts to the heart of one of the most pressing challenges we face: lack of vocal and sustained public demand for action to mitigate climate change. Our research, drawing on collaboration with some of the world’s most eminent social psychologists, shows that public demand for systemic action on climate change will be fostered by appealing to deeply held values that cut across issues. Only by working in this way it is possible to overcome the problems of “I can’t be bothered” or “my voice won’t make a difference”.

Research (both our own work and a large body of peer-reviewed research) shows that most people attach particular importance to ‘intrinsic’ values – such as ‘social justice’, ‘environmental protection’, ‘broadmindedness’ and ‘responsibility’. These values underpin concern about climate change, and motivate people to express this concern through various forms of civic participation.

However, research also shows that people are held back in expressing these values because of a widespread misconception that such values are not of general importance. People do not perceive these values as being widely encouraged in society, and underestimate the importance that typical fellow citizens place on these values. This, in turn, is associated with lower appetite for civic engagement – less motivation to vote, volunteer or demonstrate.

We will work to promote wide recognition of the intrinsic values that motivate strong public support for action to forestall anthropogenic climate change, embedding these values in people’s identities as inhabitants of the Greater Manchester city-region.

Working at a city level, our approach provides the opportunity to enlist the support of a wide range of organisations that have no formal remit to work on climate change, but which nonetheless exert influence on the prevailing culture of a city-region, and in shaping people’s identities as inhabitants of that region. This offers the opportunity to significantly widen the range of organisations working on climate change.

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