The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) is pleased to announce the publication of a virtual issue of its flagship journal, Journal of Social Issues, on psychology and climate change.

The issue brings together some of the best recent thinking about the psychology of conservation. SPSSI’s journal editors Ann Bettencourt, Heather Bullock, Sam Gaertner, and Rupert Brown have compiled four articles first published in the Journal of Social Issues (JSI), Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy (ASAP), and Social Issues of Policy Review (SIPR) to help us understand why people are or are not good stewards of the planet. These works explore the psychological processes that affect environmental intentions and behaviors, spanning from beliefs and motivations to evolutionarily adaptive biases.

  • In “Naturally Green,” Mark van Vugt and colleagues explore the cognitive biases that inform our response to global warming, and suggest ways to harness our stone-age brains to respond to 21st century challenges.
  • In “Country Contexts and Individuals’ Climate Change Mitigating Behavior,” Janet Swim and Julia Becker examine why German students are more likely than their American counterparts to engage in personal and political efforts to reduce their energy consumption.
  • In “The Emergence of Climate Change,” Cynthia Frantz and Stephan Mayer focus on why people are so reluctant to recognize and respond to climate change as a potential emergency, despite the scientific consensus that it is.
  • Finally, James Liu and Chris Sibley model the statistical likelihood of engaging in self-sacrificing behaviors to mitigate global warming.

The issue is free and available online at: