Better Sharing of “Eco-Innovations” Can Combat Rising Climate Despair

Climate despair describes a state of hopelessness about the climate crisis. These feelings of despair can be crippling, causing people to feel an overwhelming sense of futility and give up on battling climate change at all.

But a team of interdisciplinary researchers, supported by UVA’s Environmental Institute, recently discovered a way to address climate despair, potentially opening new paths to encourage action.

Benjamin Converse, associate professor of public policy and psychology and principal investigator, found that by learning about “eco-innovations” feelings of climate despair can be somewhat lessened. By emphasizing success stories, these eco-innovations can contribute to inspirational narratives that go beyond doom-and-gloom, potentially mobilizing people to take positive steps to combat climate change. Batten post-doc Maura Austin contributed to this research.