Climate changers : an interdisciplinary exploration of reducing personal carbon emissions Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xg94hv23f

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  • In an era of human-induced climate change, there is increasing interest in encouraging people to reduce their carbon dioxide (carbon) emissions by adopting low-carbon behaviors, or behaviors that reduce a person’s use of fossil fuels. I designed the Campus Carbon Challenge as a research and outreach project to gain a deeper understanding of the real-world choices, challenges, and successes people encounter when trying to reduce their carbon emissions. During the month-long project, 682 Challenge participants pledged to try new carbon-reducing behaviors. At the end of the month, 482 participants completed the Challenge and reported on their carbon-reducing endeavors. In this thesis, I analyze data from the Campus Carbon Challenge using an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods approach. First, I propose the Fair Emissions Principle, which maintains that people living high-carbon lifestyles have a personal, moral obligation to reduce their emissions to a fair share. I examine how this Principle is supported by consequentialist and justice arguments. I also discuss the practical implications of the Principle by analyzing qualitative data from the Campus Carbon Challenge and suggest that the virtues of honesty, perseverance, imagination, and integrity can play a role in emissions reduction. Second, I suggest that emission-reduction projects can successfully encourage participants to simultaneously adopt multiple carbon-reducing behaviors. Using quantitative data from the Campus Carbon Challenge, I examine a path model that explores how participants’ success at reducing their emissions was predicted by five variables of environmentally responsible behavior: awareness, concern, responsibility, hopefulness, and past actions. I conclude with recommendations for future research and suggest that emissions-reduction campaigns should be scaled up to regional, national, and international levels.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Carly Johnson (johnsonc@onid.orst.edu) on 2008-10-13T19:37:47Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Climate Changers. An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Reducing Personal Emissions.pdf: 5899164 bytes, checksum: 082e479a2c697862db668ed40cb863c9 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2008-10-21T16:03:13Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Climate Changers. An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Reducing Personal Emissions.pdf: 5899164 bytes, checksum: 082e479a2c697862db668ed40cb863c9 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2008-10-20T17:35:15Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Climate Changers. An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Reducing Personal Emissions.pdf: 5899164 bytes, checksum: 082e479a2c697862db668ed40cb863c9 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Linda Kathman(linda.kathman@oregonstate.edu) on 2008-10-21T16:03:13Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Climate Changers. An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Reducing Personal Emissions.pdf: 5899164 bytes, checksum: 082e479a2c697862db668ed40cb863c9 (MD5)

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