Sustainability, Climate Change, Politics, Circular Economy & Environmental Solutions · One Planet Podcast
Philip Fernbach - Co-author of “The Knowledge Illusion” - Cognitive Scientist - Co-Director of Ctr. for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making
Manage episode 341898454 series 3288430
Philip Fernbach is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Leeds School of Business. He’s published widely in the top journals in cognitive science, consumer research and marketing, and received the ACR Early Career Award for Contributions to Consumer Research. He’s co-author with Steve Sloman of The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, which was chosen as a New York Times Editor’s Pick. He’s also written for NYTimes, Harvard Business Review, and his research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Washinton Post, National Public Radio, and the BBC. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive science from the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown and his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Williams College. He teaches data analytics and behavioral science to undergraduate and Masters students.
"I think the environment is such a challenging problem. Two of the major reasons for that are that it's a commons problem. Basically, there's a greater good, and we all have to sacrifice a little bit individually to achieve that greater good. People tend to be self interested, so those kinds of problems are really challenging because, I'm sitting here going, 'Should I cut back on my consumption? Or should I stop flying?'
That's a cost to me in order to accrue a benefit to the group. And some people are willing to do that, but a lot of people aren't. The other real challenge with climate is that the effects of climate are diffuse. They occur slowly and over time. They're becoming more observable now, but they haven't been particularly observable to people. It's like, 'Oh, the world temperature's gonna go up by a certain number of degrees over the next 50 to a hundred years.' And a lot of people look at that and they go, 'Okay, but I've got to pay my car bill this week.' So it's hard for people to feel it viscerally as a real threat, I think. And both of those things combined are a real challenge. And then you layer in other things like incentives of oil companies or other kinds of legacy industries which actually are incentivized in the opposite direction. And then that ends up entering into the political process in various ways."