2 March 2022
14:00 - 17:30
TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

A better environment starts with yourself – right?

Click here for a report on the event.

Behavior and Institutions Symposium

The slogan of the 1988 Dutch campaign for climate change awareness Een beter milieu begint bij jezelf – a better environment starts with yourself, still sounded hopeful in the 1990s. Nowadays, there is increasing doubt about the usefulness of individual behavioral change as part of the sustainability transition. Because it would distract from the real change we need—structural, systemic change that starts with politics and business. Is that doubt justified? Is the behavior of individual citizens meaningless? Or are we capable of making a difference in the right circumstances?

In the symposium ‘Een beter milieu begint bij jezelf – toch?’ we are bringing together various perspectives on sustainable behavioral change of individuals. Under the chairmanship of Maarten Prak, eight speakers from science, policy and the public discourse will address the question of whether and how sustainable behavioral change of individuals matters in a series of spoken columns. In some columns scientific evidence will be presented, other columns will be more explorative, provocative or opinion-forming. The speakers will then debate with each other and the audience.

The symposium is organized by Denise de Ridder and Sander Thomaes of the Behavior & Institutions network and the Faculty of Social Sciences of Utrecht University.

With contributions from:

  • Marieke Adriaanse, Professor of Behavioral Interventions in Population Health, Leiden University
  • Marc Davidson, Professor of Philosophy of Sustainability and the Environment, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Liesbeth van de Grift, Professor of International History in Relation to the Environment, Utrecht University
  • Lot van Hooijdonk, alderman for Mobility, Energy, Green and Animal Welfare, municipality of Utrecht
  • Dennis Jansen, UN Youth Representative Sustainable Development
  • Joost de Laat, Professor of Global Economic Challenges, Utrecht University
  • Eva Rovers, cultural historian and climate activist
  • Erik van Sebille, Professor of Oceanography and Public Engagement, Utrecht University

Chair: Maarten Prak, Professor of Social and Economic History at Utrecht University and co-chair of the KNAW’s Climate Sounding Board Group.

To attend this symposium, please send a message to Amal Ng no later than February 15, 2022 (