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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Conceptual Foundations of Sustainability


Threats to the health of our environment are numerous, ranging from air and water pollution to deforestation, overpopulation, and climate change. Much research in fields such as biology, earth science, and engineering is devoted to documenting, understanding, and attempting to mitigate the harm. The root cause of all such problems, however, is human behavior. As such, changes to human behavior—and the internal processes that drive them—are essential to solutions. Cognitive scientists therefore have a critical role to play in sustainability research and interventions (e.g., Jaipal, 2014; Weir, 2018, 2019).

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