2011-2012 Water/Climate Briefings
The Psychology and Economics of Environmental Decision Making
Presenting research ranging from human environment interactions and water resource governance to aspects of human nature that constitute potential obstacles to solving problems of sustainability or that might facilitate our ability to make sustainable decisions.This year’s DCDC Water/Climate Briefing theme focuses on a branch of behavioral research situated at the intersection of psychology and economics. Our researchers are exploring the mental processes that shape our choices, behaviors and attitudes, and employ both evolutionary and sociocultural models to understand environmental decision making.
- Susan Ledlow, PhD, School of Sustainability
- Kelli Larson, PhD, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Sustainability
November 30, 2011 – Keynote Address – Our Energy-Efficiency Paradox: Psychological Barriers to ‘No-Brainer’ Solutions
Of all environmentally-relevant decisions, the adoption of energy-efficiency technologies would appear to be a ‘no-brainer,’ yet these solutions are vastly underused. In this talk, Dr. Weber will highlight the psychological reasons for this paradox and suggest ways in which we can harness cognitive limitations to spark greater adoption of win-win solutions.
Elke U. Weber
Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business, Columbia University
Director, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Earth Institute
Director, Center for the Decision Sciences
Decision-makers in Arizona are comforted by the idea that water can be diverted from farms to cities in the face of future water scarcity. The assumption has been that historic trends in farm retirement will continue into the future, releasing water for urban use. However, rapid changes in economic, environmental and policy conditions now challenge this assumption.
A panel of agriculture and water resource practitioners and professionals will discuss these and other issues associated with agriculture, urban growth and Arizona’s future demand for water.
- Paco Ollerton, Cotton Grower
- Jim Holway, Director, Western Lands and Communities, a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy-Sonoran Institute Joint Venture
- Brian Betcher, Manager, Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District, Pinal County
- Joe Sigg, Director of Government Relations, Arizona Farm Bureau
School of Sustainability graduate students from the workshop, “Adaptation, Resilience and Transformation.”
Price is often suggested as a simple straightforward tool to encourage people to be more efficient in how they use water. However, the economics of water demand are not that simple. Water is used for many purposes. Water is used to meet the basic necessity of life, consumption and hygiene. Water is used to create an atmosphere that suits our lifestyles, landscapes and pools, and perhaps long hot showers. Water is used for economic gain, from creating places attractive to customers to washing silicon chips. The sale of water is also used to finance the infrastructure and costs associated with making water available to a community. Each of these water uses has its own economic dynamics based on behaviors and motivation for water use which can vary among the consumers in each category. At the same time, the economics for each of these water uses are related, changes in one can affect the other. Thus, decision making about the price of water is not as clear as it may initially appear. The goal of this climate briefing is to increase the awareness of the complexities associated with the price of water by facilitating a discussion about the differences and relationships that exist in the economics of different water uses.
- V. Kerry Smith, Regents Professor, W. P. Carey School of Business, Department of Economics
- Doug Frost, Principal Planner, Water Services Department, City of Phoenix
- Gary Niekerk, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Intel Corporation
April 25, 2012 – Annual DCDC Poster Symposium
The DCDC Poster Symposium is one of the highlights of each Spring semester. Student posters present the results of various research projects conducted by students enrolled the Internship for Science-Practice Integration (ISPI) and the Community of Graduate Scholars (CGS).