Mindsets for Sustainability: Exploring the Link Between Mindfulness and Sustainable Climate Adaptation

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Mindsets for Sustainability

T2 - Ecological Economics

AU - Wamsler, Christine

AU - Brink, Ebba

PY - 2018/9/1

Y1 - 2018/9/1

N2 - Growing globalisation and climate change are challenging the sustainability of our societies. It is now clear that climate change and its devastating impacts cannot be resolved by new technology or governance alone. They require a broader, cultural shift. As a result, the role of human beings' ‘inner dimensions’ and related transformations is attracting increased attention from researchers. Recent advances in neuroscience suggest for instance that mindfulness can open new pathways towards sustainability. However, the role of mindfulness in climate adaptation has been largely ignored. This paper is the first exploratory empirical investigation into linking individuals' intrinsic mindfulness (as opposed to outside mindfulness interventions) to pro- and reactive climate adaptation. Based on a survey of citizens at risk from severe climate events, we explore if, and how individual mindfulness is correlated with climate adaptation at different scales. The results show that individual mindfulness coincides with higher motivation to take climate adaptation actions or to support them, especially actions that are ‘other-focused’ or support pro-environmental behaviour. Mindfulness may also corroborate the acknowledgement of climate change and associated risk perception, and it may steer people away from fatalistic attitudes. We conclude with a call for more research into the relationship between human beings' inner dimensions and climate adaptation in the wider public domain.

AB - Growing globalisation and climate change are challenging the sustainability of our societies. It is now clear that climate change and its devastating impacts cannot be resolved by new technology or governance alone. They require a broader, cultural shift. As a result, the role of human beings' ‘inner dimensions’ and related transformations is attracting increased attention from researchers. Recent advances in neuroscience suggest for instance that mindfulness can open new pathways towards sustainability. However, the role of mindfulness in climate adaptation has been largely ignored. This paper is the first exploratory empirical investigation into linking individuals' intrinsic mindfulness (as opposed to outside mindfulness interventions) to pro- and reactive climate adaptation. Based on a survey of citizens at risk from severe climate events, we explore if, and how individual mindfulness is correlated with climate adaptation at different scales. The results show that individual mindfulness coincides with higher motivation to take climate adaptation actions or to support them, especially actions that are ‘other-focused’ or support pro-environmental behaviour. Mindfulness may also corroborate the acknowledgement of climate change and associated risk perception, and it may steer people away from fatalistic attitudes. We conclude with a call for more research into the relationship between human beings' inner dimensions and climate adaptation in the wider public domain.

KW - Climate change adaptation

KW - Consciousness

KW - Inner transformation

KW - Inner transition

KW - Interiority

KW - Mindfulness

KW - Pro-environmental behaviour

KW - Pro-social behaviour

KW - Religion

KW - Risk reduction

KW - Spirituality

KW - Sustainability

KW - Values

KW - Wellbeing

KW - Worldviews

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85046702216&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.04.029

DO - 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.04.029

M3 - Article

VL - 151

SP - 55

EP - 61

JO - Ecological Economics

JF - Ecological Economics

SN - 0921-8009

ER -