Environmental issues

This strand focuses on understanding the social and psychological factors which may help to understand and change (un)sustainable behaviours and practices. 

Our work examines a broad range of environmental issues from the local to the global. Much of this work is multidisciplinary in nature and aims to support environmental policy and management.

Our work falls within five key areas: 

  • Resources and energy
  • Transport
  • Waste, pollution and litter
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Production and trade unions 

Resources and energy

The depletion of non-renewable energy sources and materials and environmental pollution caused by the burning of fuels are major societal issues.

Our work examines people’s perceptions of energy issues and their responses to energy saving policies, interventions and technologies.

  • 2016-2021: JUNO – a network for Japan-UK nuclear opportunities. More information: c.r.jones@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2017 – 2019: The influence of habit on our behaviours – AMRSim. More information: K.Wyles@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2014-2015: Public perceptions of Carbon Dioxide Utilisation in the UK and Germany. More information: c.r.jones@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2011-2013: Energy Innovation for Deprived Communities (i.e. the BIG Energy Upgrade). More information: c.r.jones@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2010-2013: REDUCE (Reshaping Energy Demand of Users by Communication Technology and Economic Incentives). More information: b.gatersleben@surrey.ac.uk  
  • 2012: Understanding responses to the UK Government’s ‘Green Deal’. More information: c.r.jones@surrey.ac.uk

Transport

The transport modes people use for work and leisure have a major impact on the environment as well as the transport users themselves. Cars, can get people to places quick and easy but also cause noise, pollution and dangers.

Our research provides an environmental psychology perspective on transport choices and behaviours. It examines why and how people use different modes and how this affects them, their wellbeing, their social and environmental perceptions and their identities.

Waste, pollution and litter

This work examines how waste, litter and pollution in the environment affects human interaction and experiences with those environments as well as people’s awareness of this waste and pollution and their willingness to help protect environments and prevent and clean waste and pollution.

Sustainable consumption

One of the major challenges in today’s society is the rapid increase in- and replacement of the consumption of material goods and products. Excessive production and consumption of material products damages the natural environment and results in rapidly depleting natural resources.

There is also significant evidence that an excessive focus on material consumption is associated with lower wellbeing.

Our research examines how we can tackle excessive consumption in order to promote more sustainable lifestyles characterised by lower environmental impact and high wellbeing.

  • 2016 – 2021: Living well with less (part of CUSP (Centre for Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity). More information: b.gatersleben@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2014 – 2015: TRANSFER: Trading approaches to nurturing sustainable consumption in fashion and energy retail. More information: c.r.jones@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2010 – 2013: ELICIT (Exploring lifestyle changes in transition). b.gatersleben@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2006 – 2011: RESOLVE (Research on Lifestyles Values and the Environment: http://resolve.sustainablelifestyles.ac.uk). More information: b.gatersleben@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2009 – 2010: Teenage consumerism: Exploring the relationship between material and environmental values, consumer behaviour and wellbeing among 16-25 your olds in the UK, Spain and China. More information: b.gatersleben@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2009-2010: The 21st century living project (with EDEN project). A one year longitudinal study among 100 households examining options for establishing more sustainable household consumption patterns. b.gatersleben@surrey.ac.uk

Production and trade unions 

Environmental problems are not only problems of individual consumers.  Climate change is a collective problem and will require collective solutions. Social action by groups and collectives can play a significant role in pressurising governments and industry, as well as through their own direct efforts. 

We have been particularly interested in how these groups are tackling the damaging effects of consumption on the environment and exploring more sustainable alternatives.

  • 2011 – 2015: Moments of danger, moments of opportunity: the role of individuals as change agents in organisations. A qualitative and quantitative study of union officials in national and international unions. More information: d.uzzell@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2008 – 2010: Trade Unions facing the dual challenge of globalising work division and globalising environmental degradation. More information: d.uzzell@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2011 – 2013: LOCAW: Low Carbon at Work: Modelling agents and organisations to achieve transition to a low carbon Europe. More information: d.uzzell@surrey.ac.uk
  • 2010 – 2011: Consumption production. Exploring the interface between production and consumption. More information: D.Uzzell@surrey.ac.uk