Behaviour, Economics and Nature Network (BENN)
As the scale of human activities increases and our society becomes more globalized, we impact an increasing number of earth system processes. Scientific evidence is mounting that suggests that human actions have become the main driver of global environmental change. Further, if the impacts of human activities cross critical thresholds, there is a risk of unpredictable and abrupt environmental change on local, regional and global scales.
The potential for such abrupt change vastly increases the complexity and difficulty of managing human impacts through environmental policy. In fact, we suggest that if we want to reverse this trend and create “a safe operating space for humanity” we need to move beyond environmental policy.
For example the implementation of traditional top-down interventions typically involve high transaction costs, which will rise as the perceived legitimacy of the intervention goes down. At the other end of the spectrum, bottom-up, self-organizing approaches typically depend on the existence and stability of social norms (e.g. fairness, trust, and reciprocity). Moreover, both these approaches share two crucial traits; they can be fragile and do not easily scale to the global level.
The mission of BENN is to look beyond these current approaches and explore alternative approaches to living within planetary boundaries that emphasize achieving a good “fit” between human behavior, the biophysical environment, and governance.
• BENN will focus on the relationship between human behavior and the environment and seek to generate new mechanisms that leverage basic attributes of human behavior that may lead to pro-environmental choices.
• BENN will also seek to understand fundamental drivers of behavior and how behavioral patterns and processes are maintained at the aggregate level in terms of ecological, behavioral, and evolutionary mechanisms.
• Finally, given the rapid changes our global society faces, we will seek to identify elements of feedbacks between behavior and the environment that make governance systems robust vis-à-vis those that make them fragile.
The programme director for BENN is Dr. Marty J. Anderies
, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, while Therese Lindahl
will continue to lead the programme in Stockholm. Professors Simon Levin, Princeton University, Karine Nyberg, Olso University, and Jason Shogren, University of Wyoming serve as the international advisory group of BENN
Beijer Institute projects related to BENN: