Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sustainability - a Psychologist’s View

Published as a podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and at 

Hello and welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday 24th March. I’m Anthony Day and I bring you sustainability stories, ideas and interviews without advertising, subsidy or sponsorship. 

The main part of this week’s Sustainable Futures Report is an interview with psychologist Dr Jan Maskell. I don't have a transcript of the conversation, but I've summarised it below. I'm looking into creating transcripts for all future interviews, because I know that many of you prefer to read rather than listen.

But, before we get to that, we’ll call in to the No Surprises Department.

It’s no surprise, unfortunately, that 2016 has now been confirmed as the warmest year on record. Just like 2015, 2014 and so on and so on. The warmest February on record has just drawn to a close, so 2017 looks like one for the record books as well. One thing that didn’t make the headlines was a consequent 15mm rise in sea levels - about  five times the previous average. Bad news for coastal cities - like New York, Singapore, Sydney, London and many, many others.

It’s no surprise that the G20, influenced by the US and Saudi Arabia, has dropped from its latest communique any reference about willingness to finance measures to combat climate change as agreed in Paris in 2015. The B20 - twenty leading global businesses - has fought back. “Climate change represents one of the largest risks to sustainable development, inclusiveness, equitable economic growth and financial stability,” they said. 

It’s no surprise that Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency involves a cut of $2.6 billion - back to 1990s levels - and a reduction of 3,200 employees in the EPA workforce - back to 1980s levels. There’s a detailed rundown of the cuts at 


Well Jan Maskell certainly isn’t. Alone we may not change the world, but together we just might.

In my conversation with Jan she explained her progress from architecture and the civl service to qualifications in psychology, which is now the basis of her business. She told me why sustainability is important to her, and how it is embedded in her lifestyle at .

We mentioned how some politicians may have attempted to use psychological techniques to influence voters. I shared links to the story about Cambridge Analytica with her and you can find them here.

Jan recommended a number of information resources, including - which you’ve heard me mention several times before - and a book, “The Switch” by Chris Goodall. 

She’s also contributed to an article in Huffington Post about hidden agendas behind your children’s education. Scary stuff!

Listen to the full interview on iTunes, Stitcher or via

Have you come across the acronym she mentioned? PESTLE. I think it stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental - all the angles you need to cover.

That’s it for this week. Next week’s episode is another interview and this time there will be a full transcript here on the blog. I’m talking about the link between meat and climate change with Kristie Middleton and Dr Helen Harwatt of the Humane Society of the US. 

I’m also planning developments and enhancements to the Sustainable Futures Report. Watch this space for more news soon, and of course for the next issue of the Sustainable Futures Report, which will be out next week.

This is Anthony Day.

That was the Sustainable Futures Report.

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