While the majority of people care about environmental quality, they keep engaging in carbon-intensive practices that exacerbate climate change. Can we expect humans to collectively change by themselves, from the bottom up? Social change is often initiated by minorities – individuals who challenge the status quo. The dominant literature paints a rather pessimistic picture about the ability of minorities to instigate change in the environmental domain: environmental activists, vegans, and other minority members often elicit social sanctions, thereby ironically reinforcing the majority’s commitment to current, environmentally harmful norms. Recent findings, however, point towards more optimism: pro-environmental minorities can pave the way towards ‘tipping points’ and spontaneous social change. Policymakers can speed up this process by offering top-down support for minorities – by giving them ‘voice’.
- Minorities, Social influence, Pro-environmental behaviour, Socialchange, Tipping points, Moral do-gooders