Original Paper

American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 388-396

First online:

Identifying Barriers and Catalysts to Fostering Pro-Environmental Behavior: Opportunities and Challenges for Community Psychology

  • Christine C. QuimbyAffiliated with
  • , Holly AngeliqueAffiliated withSchool of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Pennsylvania State University Email author 

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In this paper, we report on an exploratory study of perceived barriers and catalysts to increasing pro-environmental behavior among people associated with the environmental movement. Perceived barriers include time, money, low efficacy and hopelessness. Catalysts focus on changing social norms, especially through education and institutional support. We discuss the tragedy of the commons and free-riding as impediments to change. We use this study as an entryway to hypothesize opportunities and challenges that community psychologists face in motivating and supporting actions to reduce the impact of global climate change. We provide examples of how community psychologists can foster these changes. In short, we argue that community psychology is well positioned to take a leading role in the fight for a carbon neutral future.


Pro-environmental behavior Behavior change Global climate change Catalysts