Psychology and the city: why the inner-workings of our minds is the greatest obstacle to a sustainable planet

psychology picture

Psychological barriers and prejudices within the human mind are destroying any chance for individual, and consumer-led action. Can cities be re-designed to overcome them?

The number of times I’ve heard people say they don’t give a damn about the environment and climate change is countless. Hardly born out of ignorance though, they are displaying what is in fact a normal, human psychological reaction to a seemingly distant problem that does not have immediate ramifications in their lives. It’s also an immensely stubborn obstacle to environmental progress that sustainable-lifestyle advocates cannot afford to overlook.

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Is energy-efficiency the key to a sustainable world? Not on your life.


The idea that energy efficiency is inherently a good thing for the environment is deeply embedded within the sustainability movement. But a new NASA-funded study has its doubts.

If there’s a term that’s become sacrosanct in any discussion about the environment, quasi synonymous with sustainable living, it’s energy efficiency. Fuel-efficient cars and airplanes, energy-efficient homes and domestic appliances, and LED bulbs everywhere we’re told, is the solution to living in harmony with a planet that’s got finite resources and a lot of people and nature to divvy it up it with.

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