Most advocates of sustainable development recognize the need for changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors in order to achieve a sustainability transition that will meet human needs and reduce hunger and poverty, while maintaining the life support systems of the planet (National Research Council, 1999). But which values, attitudes and behaviors are crucial to sustainability? What are the current state and trajectories of these values around the world? Does the global public support sustainable development? What are global public attitudes towards economic growth, human development, environmental protection, population growth, affluence, and science and technology? What does the global public think about contextual values, like political freedom, democracy, equality, capitalism, globalization, trust in institutions and social change? Finally, what barriers prevent values and attitudes from being translated into action?
This project assesses the current state of global sustainability values, attitudes and behaviors and begins to answer these questions, drawing upon both official declarations (e.g., the Brundtland Conference, UN Millennium Goals Project, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Earth Charter, etc.) and empirical data from numerous multi-national and quasi-global scale surveys.
Leiserowitz, A., Kates, R., and Parris, T. (2006) Sustainability values, attitudes and behaviors: A review of multi-national and global trends. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 413-444.
Leiserowitz, A., Kates, R., and Parris, T. (2005) Do global attitudes and behaviors support sustainable development? Environment, 47(9), 22-38.
Kates, R., Leiserowitz, A., and Parris, T. (2005) Editorial: Accelerating sustainable development. Environment, 47(5), 1.
Kates, R., Parris, T. and Leiserowitz, A. (2005) What is sustainable development? Goals, indicators, values and practice. Environment, 47(3), 8-21.
Leiserowitz, A., Kates, R., and Parris, T. (2004) Sustainability values, attitudes and behaviors: A review of multi-national and global trends. CID Working Paper No. (#113), Cambridge, MA: Center for International Development, Harvard University.