Climate, Mind and Behavior News

We welcome you to check here for the latest news concerning the Garrison Institute’s Climate, Mind and Behavior program and the ways we are connecting new insights from cognitive, behavioral and social science about the drivers of human behavior to generate more effective climate solutions. 

Could Climate Campaigners’ Focus on Current Events be Counterproductive? by Andrew Revkin, The New York Times, Dot Earth Blog, August 20, 2013. “The message these days has become all about extreme events, from the Frankenstorm to intense droughts… The merits and drawbacks of real-time and long-term arguments for addressing climate change were discussed at this year’s Climate, Mind and Behavior symposium at the Garrison Institute. Daniel Schrag, a prominent climate scientist at Harvard and member of President Obama’s committee of science and technology advisers, gave a talk making the case for climate action based on the extraordinarily clear and sobering body of science pointing to a profoundly transformed planet in coming centuries. Please watch his talk here…” 

How Many Minutes Pay for Your Car? by Marc Gunther, Sustainable Business Forum, Feb. 21, 2012: 'I spent time last week at the Climate, Mind and Behavior conference at the Garrison Institute, which brought together leading scholars and environmentalists. In this report at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, Keith Kloor writes a big obstacle to solving the climate problem is the way the human brain works.…'

Climate Resilience – Deconstructing the new buzz word, by Cara Pike, Climate Access, May 10, 2013. “'Climate resiliency' is a new buzzword in environmental communications…Back in March, I had the pleasure of co-facilitating the Climate, Cities and Behavior Symposium at the Garrison Institute, a gathering of municipal and community leaders involved in climate and sustainability planning. The focus was on understanding the intersections between resiliency, sustainability and climate issues. It quickly became clear that while use of the term resiliency is rising, there are still a lot of issues to consider about what resiliency actually means and the pros and cons of using it to advance public understanding and engagement…"


Harnessing Local Pride for Global Conservation, by David Bornstein, The New York Times Opinionator Online Commentary, February 9, 2012: 'The toughest problems to solve are the ones that are hard to detect and require humans to change their behavior. That puts conservation at the top of the list…. One question that has received little attention is: How do we get people to change their behavior? What really works? In recent years, psychologists, economists and neuroscientists have shed light on these questions…. For those who are interested in ideas about ways to fight climate change using new insights into behavior change, check out this initiative from the Garrison Institute….

Our mission? Create green schools for everyone within this generation. by Rachel Gutter, Center for Green Schools. A video on the Center for Green Schools website featuring excerpts from Rachel Gutter's presentation at the Climate, Mind and Behavior symposium in 2011. 

Repairing The Fabric of the World: A Conversation with Jonathan F.P. Rose, interview by Tracy Cochran, Parabola, Spring 2012: 'In a complex system the pieces are all interdependent rather than linear. Causes and conditions intertwine, and what goes in and what comes out are often unpredictable or unknowable…. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity: that defines the world we are in. It requires different kinds of solutions, different kinds of governance, and it requires a different kind of state of mind…. Everything that was external and away from us surrounds us now. The economy is globalized. But climate change knows no boundary except the earth itself. The effects will reach every one of us…. The first thing we have to change is the way we see things, moving from a linear view to a holistic view…'
Work Less, Help Economy And Environment, by Lynne Peeples, Huffington Post, Feb. 24, 2012. '[In the US,] employers pay health care and other benefits per head rather than per hour, so they responded to competition and recession in the 1980s by pushing some people out of the labor market and working the remainder harder. The result: more people unemployed and larger incomes for the over-employed. If we reverse this trend, we might help tackle many of the problems facing society today, including climate change, Schor explained in her talk at the non-profit Garrison Institute's annual Climate, Mind and Behavior symposium in New York last week…. [A] reduction of 10 percent in working hours could trim carbon footprints by 15 percent…'
iconThe Joy of Living Green, by Barry Boyce, Shambhala Sun, November 2011. " 'Environmental issues come from separating things into lots of pieces,' according to Jonathan Rose, who started the Transformational Ecology initiative at the Garrison Institute…. 'We make economic decisions as if they weren't ecological decisions. We need to see the interrelationships and shift our mental models of the world from linear to holistic and interconnected…. We now know… that behavior changes attitudes more readily than the other way around. If you coax someone into riding a bike, recycling, or rooftop farming, the physical act reshapes their brain in a way that starts changing their attitude…' "
An Eclectic Group of Thinkers and Scholars Tackles Global Warming, by Keith Kloor, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media, February 17, 2012: 'A growing number of scholars has been arguing that the greatest impediment to action on climate change is not Big Oil, the Tea Party, libertarian/conservative think tanks, or climate skeptics. Rather, they say, it is the human brain. Simply put, the argument goes, evolution has hardwired us to respond to immediate dangers (think tigers and bears), not slow-moving, hard to grasp threats like melting glaciers and rising sea levels…'
Win-win situation: Using competition to change behavior by Sarah Goodyear, Grist, May 18, 2011. "One mantra kept being put forward...: Attitudes follow behavior. Behavior does not follow attitudes. People change their minds about something like biking to work by getting out and doing it -- they don't listen to an educational lecture about the benefits..."

Page 1 of 6

Climate, Mind and Behavior Events

Climate, Mind and Behavior Leadership


John McIlwain

Climate, Mind and Behavior Leadership Council:

Dina Biscotti, UC Davis
Uwe Brandes, Urban Land Institute
Marilyn Cornelius, Stanford University
Jeff Domanski, Princeton University
Becky Ford, University of Otago, New Zealand
Ruth Greenspan-Bell, Woodrow Wilson Intl Center for Scholars
Lauren Kubiak, Natural Resources Defense Council
Skip Laitner, ACEEE
Nils Moe, Urban Sustainability Directors Network
Phil Payne, Gingko Residential
Roger Platt, USGBC
Jonathan Rose, Garrison Institute Board Member
Kurt Roth, Fraunhofer Institute
Jonathan Rowson, RSA
Rachael Shwom, Rutgers University
Jennifer Tabanico, Action Research
Jason Twill, Lend Lease (Australia)

For more information on Climate, Mind and Behavior and Climate, Buildings and Behavior, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.