Explorer Project4.3 Blackbox Nachhaltigkeit
Von nachhaltigen Haltungen zu nachhaltigen Handlungen
Hardly any other topic shapes political, economic and social debates in the 21st century more than the goal of sustainability. Challenged by developments such as climate change, aging societies or digitalization, the UN, for example, has placed the pursuit of sustainable social change at the center of its 2030 Agenda. Achieving the sustainability goals depends on the interaction of various factors. The individual actions of citizens (self-regulation) play just as important a role as the actions of state actors (state regulation). This becomes particularly clear in the field of ecological sustainability: whether governmental action sets effective incentives for ecologically sustainable behavior depends on the individual actions of the population. Against this background, the project addresses the question of what explains ecologically sustainable behavior of individuals.
In answering this question, the project is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach, the use of new analytical procedures and the combination of survey-based and experimental research methods. The aim of the project is to combine individual explanatory approaches from the behavioral sciences with findings on the influence of contextual conditions, such as policymaking. To this end, a large-scale, representative population survey was conducted in 2021. Next to values and attitudes and the contextual living conditions of the respondents, actual ecological behavior using an ecological footprint calculator has been recorded in the survey. Currently, the project team is working on the analysis of these data using machine learning methods. Initial results show that a gap between individual attitudes and sustainable behavior is often caused by contextual conditions. In the further course of the project, a follow-up survey and complementary experimental studies to analyze causal relationships are planned.