Steve Westlake Profile picture
PhD researcher at Cardiff Uni exploring how/if leading by example promotes pro-environmental behaviour. 🏳️‍🌈
Rob Pearson 💙#NHS 💛#Ukraine 🇺🇦 #ER🌍 #FBPE🇪🇺 Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
Nov 18, 2022 21 tweets 7 min read
🚨PhD headline findings🧵

If leaders adopt high-impact low-carbon behaviour:
- others tend to follow
- leader credibility and approval sky-rockets 🚀

If leaders don’t lead by example
- leader credibility drops 🤨
- others are less likely to act

1/n ➡️Leading by example increases a sense of collective effort on climate

➡️It is not viewed as “individual” if leader motivation is trusted and they fulfil their other leadership functions (i.e. not *just* taking individual action)

➡️Leading by example appeals to most people
Aug 25, 2022 16 tweets 4 min read
Interesting study on whether hopeful messages on climate are effective or not:

"A cautionary note about messages of hope: Focusing on progress in reducing carbon emissions weakens mitigation motivation [ie the urge to take action]"

It says:
1/n 🧵… > Emotional distress is strongly correlated with mitigation motivation; hope is not."

> Optimistic messages about carbon emissions reduce climate change risk perceptions.

> Less risk leads to less distress, which in turn lowers mitigation motivation.

Mar 28, 2022 21 tweets 7 min read
A quick response to this story in the @telegraph, which basically frames young people as virtue signallers and liars on environmental issues.

It's almost entirely anti-young, anti-environment spin, as explained below... 🧵1/n… Headline: "Green 'virtue-signalling' on the rise as one in 10 young people are now vegan"

Note the conflation of veganism and young people and virtue signalling, implying that people only go vegan in order to virtue signal. A comforting lazy stereotype, not actually true. 2/
Mar 14, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
“Behavioural realism” – the doctrine that people won’t change their behaviour to tackle the climate crisis, so existing activities must be swapped with low-carbon duplicates, eg. EVs, flying. Behavioural realism props up power structures and protects high-emitters and elites. 1/6 How? By ensuring significant behaviour change, like flying less or reducing car dependence, is kept off the agenda – as “nobody wants to change”. But it’s high-emitters and elites that fairness demands change the most. Hence... behavioural realism 2/6…
Sep 26, 2021 20 tweets 14 min read
Climate change is not about data and reason, it is about money and power👀

(this may be my first subtweet😃) Sources: first bar charts from here (&adapted)…
Aug 10, 2021 9 tweets 4 min read
This "what do you drive?" question is a valid one. If people are expected to change their lives in significant ways, it's important that political leaders set an example and signal their commitment. It's worth discussing properly tho, rather than a 'gotcha' format
1/#IPCCReport🧵 For those already heavily committed to climate action and desperate for #COP26 to be a success, this might seem like a delayer's question, individualising climate change. But if setting an example at the national level is important, it is important at an individual level too.
Jun 18, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
Important new study finds there is "no strong reason to shrink away from campaigns designed to increase individual action to reduce GHG emissions as they are often seen as complements rather than substitutes for transformative climate policy." 1/… The study adds nuance to the debate about whether to focus on individual change or system/political changes when it comes to the climate crisis. (It's not either or of course) @GreggRSparkman @Shahzeen @KHayhoe @michaelemann @StuartBCapstick @KevinClimate @GretaThunberg 2/
Feb 25, 2021 8 tweets 3 min read
Should billionaires be "shamed" for their trend-setting contributions to planetary destruction?

The graphic below ranks billionaire emissions. It makes Gates, Bezos and Musk look quite good.

So I've added a graphic that includes the average global citizen (5t CO2) Equity and fairness are said to be essential parts of tackling the environmental crises, so this matters.
Dec 8, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
A short thread on the risks of countries claiming to be "climate leaders":

The image of the heroic leader is ubiquitous in our popular culture, politics, business and media. This results in a tendency to exaggerate the role of leaders in both successes and failures. An emphasis on heroic leadership can also lead to “learned helplessness” and dependency among followers. Thus followers use leaders to insulate themselves against uncomfortable feelings, and project hope and responsibility onto leaders.
Nov 3, 2020 13 tweets 5 min read
The pushback on @Shell's "blame-the-consumer" tweet has been brilliant and represents real progress. Long may it continue.


...we do still need to talk about consumers and carbon footprints, and not give the highest emitters a free pass.

Because “consumers” are not some horizontal mass of equal beings. The disparities between the biggest and the smallest carbon footprints are absolutely vast.

The Martini glass of inequity highlights this well...
Jun 27, 2020 6 tweets 1 min read
Good news! Many of those who dropped litter had bought litter offsets that will, with luck, stop others littering in future. And some said they are confident Negative Litter Technologies (NLTs) will clear up lots of litter in a few decades's time.😉… A UK litterer said, “Actually, we are world leaders in cutting one type of litter. But we really can't control the litter from things we consume.”🤷

One of the litterers was visiting from the US. He said simply, “The American way of littering is not up for negotiation.” 🤐
Mar 10, 2020 19 tweets 7 min read
Last Sunday was a special but sad day. From 5am-5pm I was up in a beautiful 150-year-old tree in Cardiff, trying to help many others save it from the developers’ chainsaws. Ultimately though, we failed.
Thread 1/n There were tears. On the street below local people cried as they cut the neighbouring tree first. My tears came at 2pm when the chainsaws backed away and I thought we may have won, but I was mistaken… 2/
Jun 6, 2019 8 tweets 15 min read
@keithalexander @LeeEnviron @tomhillonline @KevinClimate @ClimateBeard @MichaelEMann @penn_state @USATODAY Here's another take (from Nature Climate Change) on why personal behaviour change, particularly among elites, is crucial: "The lifestyles and consumption patterns of the super-rich strongly influence the globally growing middle classes..."
1/n… @keithalexander @LeeEnviron @tomhillonline @KevinClimate @ClimateBeard @MichaelEMann @penn_state @USATODAY "... who emulate upper-class consumption styles to distinguish themselves from lower classes. In addition, the super-rich have a great impact on technological innovation..." In other words, people copy the behaviour of those with high status.
Feb 28, 2019 8 tweets 12 min read
@tomes_tanguy @KevinClimate @StuartBCapstick @kcoplan @coralsncaves @drvox I mean that giving up flying is seen as a difficult thing to do, and so is impressive. People say 'Wow, really? You don't fly AT ALL?' It seems to have a strong messaging effect that says, 'climate change must be serious if you've given up flying'. @tomes_tanguy @KevinClimate @StuartBCapstick @kcoplan @coralsncaves @drvox Of course people react to not-flyers in different, potentially conflicting ways. In my survey I asked people to choose from the words: Surprise, Respect, Smug, Integrity, Unrealistic, Impressive, Eccentric, Pointless, Interesting. Here's what they chose... (Respect comes top)