It’s easy to believe that global warming is somebody else’s problem – other people will suffer and other people will come up with the solution. However, this is far from the truth. There’s a clue in the name: ‘global warming’ is a truly global problem. None of us is safe from its effects (although some of us have a better chance of adapting to them). We are all part of the problem, and each of us will need to be part of the solution . . . Thinking this way presents the human race as one massive blob. But in fact it’s as individuals that we live our lives and make our choices. Every time each of us switches on a light, reaches for something in a supermarket, gets into a car or bus, chooses what clothes to buy or which movie to see, we have all made a difference to the way the economy works. Choices like these have driven the world’s economies ever upwards in the twentieth century. They have also led to spiralling greenhouse gas emissions. Now we will all have to adapt our choices to the new realities of the twentyfirst century. (2008: 238)

As a psychologist, I find this argument not just persuasive but attractive. It empowers me and my profession. Of course, I agree that it is ‘as individuals that we live our lives and make our choices’, but I also believe that there is a good deal

of complex psychology underpinning the actual behaviour of making choices, choosing one product rather than another, or, indeed, choosing whether to buy a product at all, and maybe putting it back on the shelf (sometimes the hardest choice of all for many people). Human beings have all kinds of predispositions to select one thing rather than another based on their underlying attitudes and beliefs, their habits, what they think others might do in the same situation and a host of other factors, some personal, some social; and some specific, others quite general. I wanted to rethink some of these influences and take some less traditional approaches to this whole problem.