An informed multidisciplinary understanding of the ways in which people experience, appraise, adapt, and respond to global climate change is a prerequisite to effectively managing the transition to a sustainable economy. In this paper, we argue that climate science has to date failed to fully appreciate the contribution that social and environmental psychology can make to such an understanding. We draw on findings from two large national Australian surveys to demonstrate how this perspective can contribute to knowledge, understanding, and policy formulation. Central to this perspective are processes of psychological adaptation, that is, processes through which individuals orient towards, make sense of, and ultimately come to terms with, the threat and reality of climate change. Such adaptive processes are shown to mediate relationships between environmental experiences and behavior, and hence provide the foundation for environmentally-friendly lifestyles. Rather than assuming that external sanctions and incentives are sufficient to engender sustainable lifestyle changes, a social and environmental psychology approach recognises and explores the complexities of the transactions that occur between individuals’ internal and external environments, emphasizes the importance of intrinsic motivation and self-determination, and suggests the need for initiatives that promote behaviors that are both environmentally and psychologically significant.
; Reser, J.P
(2016). Adaptation processes in the context of climate change: a social and environmental psychology perspective Journal of Bioeconomics