Motivation and climate change: A review

Cameron Brick, Anna Bosshard, Lorraine Whitmarsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)
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This paper reviews motivations people experience about climate change and integrates recent findings into the BUCkET model of core social goals. We argue that environmentalism is not the main cause of thoughts or behaviors about climate change. Rather, the evolved social needs for Belongingness, Understanding, Control, self-Enhancement, and Trust are more practical intervention targets than the attempt to create environmentalist beliefs or identities. We used database searches to identify the key research areas on motivation and climate change and synthesized articles into the BUCkET model. This reveals some limiting assumptions of previous approaches and suggests the effectiveness of targeting existing motives rather than fostering new values or worldviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Nathaniel Geiger for input on the BUCkET model and Gary J. Lewis and Michael Barlev for the conceptual feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Attitude-behavior gap
  • Environmentalism
  • Knowledge deficit model
  • Motivation
  • Proenvironmental behavior
  • Prosociality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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