Sustainability & The Environment

The Power of One: Individual Actions to Stem Climate Change

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While it’s easy to believe small, sustainable changes do not have a major impact on climate change, experts agree that individual actions do have the power to tip change in a positive directions. There are multiple steps you can take to limit and adapt to climate change — all it takes is a shift in mindset.

In this discussion, USC experts explain the personal actions you can take to avoid a climate crisis and create a greener future. Panelists include Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Provost Professor of Public Policy, Psychology and Behavioral Science at USC Price School of Public Policy and director of the USC Behavioral Science and Well Being Policy Initiative; Gale Sinatra, Stephen H. Crocker Chair, professor of education and psychology, and associate dean for research at USC Rossier School of Education; and Monica Dean, climate and sustainability practice director at USC Public Exchange.

It is moderated by Detlof von Winterfeldt, professor of industrial and systems engineering and policy, planning and development at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the J.A. Tiberti Chair in Ethics and Decision Making and executive director of the USC Center for Sustainability Solutions.

Who Will Benefit

– Those hoping to understand how singular sustainable changes can impact climate change
– Individuals looking to grasp the effects of supply vs. demand in the climate crisis
– Those who want to develop more sustainable lifestyles that benefit themselves and the planet

About Our Featured Faculty

Gale Sinatra is a professor of psychology and the Stephen H. Crocker Professor of Education at USC Rossier School of Education. Her areas of expertise include climate science education, evolution education, learning theory, knowledge construction, conceptual change learning, literacy acquisition, assessment and the public understanding of science. Her recent research focuses on understanding the cognitive and motivational processes that lead to successful learning in science. Specifically, Sinatra focuses on the role of motivation and emotion in teaching and learning about controversial topics, such as biological evolution and climate change.

Detlof von Winterfeldt is the inaugural J.A. Tiberti Chair of Ethics and Decision Making and a professor of systems engineering at the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He holds a joint appointment as professor of public policy at the USC Price School of Public Policy. In 2004, he co-founded the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), the first university-based center of excellence funded by the US Department of Homeland Security. He served as CREATE’s director from 2004 to 2008, and he was reappointed to this position in 2015. In the interim, he was on leave of absence from USC as director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (2009-2012) and as Centennial Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science (2008-2012). Throughout his academic career he has been active in teaching, research, university administration and consulting.

Monica Dean is the director of the climate and sustainability practice at USC Dornsife Public Exchange, helping connect USC researchers to public and private sector partners and working to address climate change. Dean joined USC after serving in the Biden Administration as a senior advisor to special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry. Dean has worked on international climate policy and communication for more than a decade, including leading the communication strategy for the IPPC 1.5°C special report.

Wändi Bruine de Bruin is a Provost Professor of Public Policy, Psychology and Behavioral Science. She has published more than 125 peer-reviewed publications on the psychology of risk perception and communication, as applied to personal health, sustainability and climate change, as well as household finances. Across USC, she holds affiliations with the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the Department of Psychology, the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, the Center for Economic and Social Research, the Center for Sustainability Solutions and the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). She is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Decision, Medical Decision Making, the Journal of Risk Research, and Psychology and Aging.