American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 388–396

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

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10464-010-9389-7

Cite this article as:
Quimby, C.C. & Angelique, H. Am J Community Psychol (2011) 47: 388. doi:10.1007/s10464-010-9389-7


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 behaviorBehavior changeGlobal climate changeCatalysts

Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HarrisburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Behavioral Sciences and EducationPennsylvania State UniversityMiddletownUSA