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We can’t combat climate change without changing minds. This psychology class explores how.

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When Northeastern professors John Coley and Brian Helmuth tell their students to “introduce themselves,” they really mean it.

It’s a clammy Monday afternoon in mid-January, and the 15 members of PSYC-4660 Humans & Nature: The Psychology of Social-Ecological Systems on Northeastern University’s Boston campus are taking turns in front of a projector. They’re going through detailed PowerPoint slides outlining their majors, family backgrounds, college resumes thus far, hobbies, dogs and cats. Some grew up going to grandparents’ farms and camping every weekend in rural New England; one works part time for a company that sells carbon credits. Eshna Kulshreshtha, born and raised in California, talks about the small arguments she and her Indian immigrant parents have about recycling.   

“I’ve never had a class where we spent an hour just doing introductions,” says Kulshreshtha, a second-year marine science major, in an interview a few days later.   

In another context it might be oversharing; here it has a point. The central argument of the class is that our personal backgrounds, behaviors and resulting worldviews may hold the key to saving the planet.

Read more at NGN.

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