As an environmental psychologist, I am convinced that we need to do all we can to mitigate climate change. Even though industry and politics have the biggest responsibility in mitigating climate change, individuals – especially those living in the Global North – have a responsibility to acknowledge their privilege and change their behavior as well.
Travelling by plane is the single most climate-damaging human activity. This is why I decided in 2014 not to use air planes any longer – both in my work and private life. I only attend research conferences that I can travel to using trains or buses, or that I can attend virtually. For me, this choice has been so obvious in my private life for many years that it would have felt strange to change it when going into academia.
Marlis Wullenkord works as a PhD researcher at the Department of Psychology, Environmental Psychology Unit, University Koblenz-Landau. Her main research interests are the interactions between basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration, and the use of self-protective strategies in the face of climate change. Her dissertation title is “Psychological Barriers to Pro-Environmental Behavior – A Needs-Based Approach to Explain Self-Protective Strategies in the Face of Climate Change.”