Meijers, M. H. C. (2014). On justifying eco-unfriendly behaviors (Dissertation). Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR). NeSCoR Best Dissertation Award.

Abstract: The climate is changing, species are about to go extinct, and mountains of garbage are ever increasing. In order to preserve the earth and provide a good living standard for all its inhabitants, it is important for people to continue making environmentally friendly choices. This dissertation, however, shows that people do not always behave in a consistent manner when it comes to their environmentally friendly behaviors. It is investigated how individuals justify abstaining from environmental actions. Specifically, in Part I, it is shown that individuals’ environmental behaviors are affected by their own previous behaviors. For example, engaging in environmentally friendly behavior may, ironically, lead individuals to subsequently justify being environmentally unfriendly. Second, in Part II, it is demonstrated that actions of other individuals’ and external institutions may provide individuals with justifications for being environmentally unfriendly themselves. These findings have important implications when aiming to persuade people to behave in an environmentally friendly manner.

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