Emma Goldenthal

Emma Goldenthal

Project title:  Representing, perceiving, and acting on climate change: A social and psychological perspective

Project description:  Why hasn’t knowledge about the human drivers of climate change sufficiently compelled our society to drastically reduce global emissions, address environmental injustice, and transition to more sustainable ways of living? With an emphasis on individuals and communities in the United States, I will consider factors that shape how we understand climate change, such as direct environmental experience and perception, self-concept and identity, and exposure to popular (as well as unconventional) representations of environmental issues. I hope to identify the perceptual and cognitive biases that make it difficult to translate belief into behavior, and in what instances, if any, this gap can be bridged. My goal is to produce work that will help environmental advocates more effectively communicate, educate, and organize around environmental issues in a manner that inspires additional civic and political action. Simultaneously, I would like to treat climate change as a case study that can contribute to our understanding of collective behavior as well as social movements.

Most important accomplishment:  I am proud to have recently revisited my clarinet playing after a 3 year hiatus!

Reflections on the College Scholar Program:  My experience with the College Scholar program has been very intellectually validating. It’s a privilege to be able to frame my undergraduate curriculum around a set of interdisciplinary questions that feel academically and personally meaningful to me. Knowing that at any moment -- during a lecture, within a reading, in conversation -- I could come across something that will lend me insight into my project gives me a sense of purpose and is also just generally exciting! I feel empowered by the responsibility that the College Scholar program asks of students, as well as by other students in the program who share my enthusiasm for interdisciplinary work.