Sustainable Behavior: Incentives, Practice, and Education

Open Access
Drayton, Annabel Lord
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Rebecca Bliege Bird, Thesis Supervisor
  • Timothy Michael Ryan, Honors Advisor
  • proenvironmental
  • sustainability
  • consumer
  • human behavior
  • evolutionary behavior
  • costly signaling theory
  • conspicuous conservation
As luxurious consumer lifestyles have grown more extravagant, creating a system of runaway consumption, and as populations continue to grow faster than the carrying capacity could ever evolve, ecological destruction will continue to worsen. This thesis looks at proenvironmental behavior and strategic altruism as one opportunity to create a more sustainable future. Understanding where, how, and why unsustainable consumption occurs from an evolutionary perspective, as one piece of an interdisciplinary approach to creating sustainable futures, can help us find holistic solutions to our world’s climate dilemmas. This is done by introducing the evolutionary theory driving human behavior and existing research in order to address the role of gender, education, and proenvironmental practice in incentivizing sustainable consumer behavior.