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Our Deepest Values Must Address Climate Change

Small globe held in hand

As the world grapples with how to fight climate change, Michigan Ross Professor Andy Hoffman argues that a solution will require a shift in core personal beliefs.

In a new essay in the online magazine Behavioral Scientist, Hoffman makes the case that much opposition to confronting the problem is rooted in deeply held religious and philosophical values. Finding solutions will require fundamental changes in those values, he argues.

“This point is not just for those who deny the science,” Hoffman writes. “Even the most liberal among us, those who contend most strongly for action on climate change, have lived our entire lives steeped in values that are increasingly at odds with a sustainable world. Building a livable world requires a new understanding of our species’ role on Earth. Reorienting this sense of self is something that all of us must confront.”

Business solutions will only go so far, the article continues: “The language of economics and commerce may be expedient, but it is incomplete; by using it, something is lost. Changing our actions to save money will only get us so far. Changing them because it connects to our deepest values of what is just, wise, and true can take us much further. This is where religion and philosophy come in. While some see them as the obstacle, I see them as the solution.”

Read the full essay

Andrew J. Hoffman is the Holcim (U.S.) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, Professor of Management & Organizations, and Professor of Environment & Sustainability at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and School for Environment and Sustainability.

Media contact: Bridget Vis, Public Relations Specialist, [email protected]