Summary of It’s Not Easy Being Green

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In an age of environmental crisis, appeals to reason alone have failed to motivate enough people to adopt greener lifestyles. To address this modern conundrum, geneticist Sarah Darwin and philosopher Stephen Cave examine how the ancient practice of “rituals” can help entrench new environmental norms. They explain why “rites and ceremonies” appeal to the moral and emotional sides of people that logical arguments cannot reach: Rituals can help people realign their values, break free from the emotional paralysis that blocks action and develop new habits to address the ecological crisis. getAbstract recommends this innovative analysis to behavioral scientists, environmental policy makers and anyone interested in learning practical new ways to tackle the environmental crisis.

About the Authors

Geneticist Sarah Darwin, PhD, is a broadcaster and writer about natural history, science and evolution. Former British diplomat Stephen Cave is a writer and philosopher.



Rational arguments alone have not been successful in compelling people to adopt the dramatic lifestyle changes necessary to stave off an impending ecological catastrophe. Where appeals to logic have failed, experimental psychology suggests that “rituals” could spur environmental action. “Rites and ceremonies” can take the form of modest, everyday practices that enhance appreciation of the natural world. This newfound respect could encourage people to develop new, sustainable habits.

Rituals help people overcome their “disconnection” with nature. Society...

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