A future worth pushing for: the role of developing positive future visions in taking environmental political action.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Politics


Insufficient UK climate change policy (IPPR 2020) means individual and household behaviour change alone cannot achieve the significant system change needed to address the climate and ecological crisis (IPCC 2018). Individuals must also take political action (defined as action to change systems beyond the individual or household). A majority of the UK public consider radical change necessary to mitigate climate change, but most are not acting for such change. This innovative interdisciplinary project aims to demonstrate positive future visioning as a novel method of closing this prevalent value-action gap. I combine literatures on transformative change and wellbeing. The research contributes to UK policy focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and wellbeing of future generations.

Research questions
Main question: does envisioning positive futures support environmental political action?

- How does such envisioning increase understanding, motivation, and agency in enacting social transformations for sustainability?
- What is the relative importance in this of deliberative methodologies and emotional reflection?

My qualitative experimental methodology involves an intervention engaging two diverse groups of 10 people in developing a future vision around a question like 'how could life look in 30 years if we had a
sustainable local area and UK, with true wellbeing for everyone?'. They will be compared to a no-intervention control group. Small groups are effective in transformative change.

I will recruit participants using random stratified selection from respondents to an online questionnaire advertised via community groups, local businesses and social media in several locations in Devon and
Cornwall. I will adhere to GDPR and principles of anonymisation, confidentiality and informed consent.



Ella Rolfe (Student)


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2596016 Studentship ES/P000630/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Ella Rolfe