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Public understanding of the sixth mass extinction around the world

28 June 2023

Public understanding of the sixth mass extinction around the world

There is growing scientific and expert recognition that we are facing serious declines in biodiversity, and increasing risks from species extinctions. But there is very little evidence about how the public perceives and understand these risks and whether they are willing to do anything about it.

This talk considers both scientific and public understandings of the sixth mass extinction using expert interviews (n=30) and public understanding surveys (n=2750) conducted with individuals across the world (USA, UK, India, Brazil and South Africa). It examines whether people perceive the sixth mass extinction event is happening and it’s causes and consequences, apart from willingness to support behaviour and policy change.

About Dr Ganga Shreedhar

Ganga is an Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science in LSE’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science and co-director of the MSc in Behavioural Science programme. She is an applied behavioural and experimental economist studying how to change human behaviour in ways benefit people and the planet. Her research examines how people perceive and understand complex dilemmas like mass extinction and climate change, and consumer and citizen motivations and choices. She also studies how behavioural interventions can be transformative and create sustainable habits.

Ganga is also an Associate at the Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change and the Environment and the Inclusion Initiative, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has completed a PhD in Environmental Economics and a Master’s in Public Administration at the LSE, and a Master’s in Development Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Prior to academia, she worked with the International Food Policy Research Institute on agricultural and food security policy.

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