Climate Change and Psychology

by Harrison Chotzen

In march of 2015, a group of psychology professors from the College of Wooster published an article describing the value of psychological research in combating climate change. The group argues that while significant research has been done on institutional actors (i.e. governments and industries) and technological, demographic and economic trends, far less has been done on the individual level, which they claim, through the adoption and support of ecofriendly technologies and policies, ultimately drives societal change. The article suggests that psychological research should be a more frequently utilized in climate change mitigation and adaption discussions, arguing that the social insights it provides are ideal tools for crafting clear and effective programs and policies. As evidence for this argument, the article discusses three primary areas in which psychological investigation makes positive contributions to climate change research. Continue reading

Pond Hockey and Climate Change

by Harrison Chotzen

In 2015 Australian Event-Management specialists Sheranne Fairley, Lisa Ruhanen and Hannah Lovegrove wrote a comprehensive article discussing the impact of climate change on The Pond Hockey Classic (PHC). This tournament, founded in 2009 by hockey fanatic Scott Crowder in Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, has spread to Vermont, Montana, New York and Philadelphia. The tournament is highly popular amongst the hockey community as it provides a place for those who grew up playing on frozen ponds to relive their glory days, and also provides a novel experience for younger players. However, the warming winter temperatures of climate change pose an imminent threat to the organization and sport as a whole. The Northeast region of the US, where the majority of the tournaments are held, has seen an average winter temperature increase of 4°C since 1970, a trend that is projected to intensify in the coming years. Additionally, winter recreation and the associated tourism is an enormous industry in the Northeast, contributing an estimated US$7.6 billion annually to the Northeastern economy. If the projected increases transpire, the industry will be jeopardized, and for Crowder and the PHC they have already taken a toll. In both 2011 and 2012 events were called off due to inadequate ice conditions, resulting in a financial misfortune for Crowder and the local businesses that benefit from the PHC, as well as a sort of wake up call: the warm weather scientists refer to as “imminent” and “inevitable” had arrived. However, being a passionate hockey player, entrepreneur, and outdoor enthusiast, Crowder was not ready to loose hope. Continue reading

The Future of the Australian Ski Industry

 

by Harrison Chotzen

In 2010 Catherine Pickering and Ralf Buckley, then associate professor and director of the ICER (International Centre for Ecotourism Research) coauthored an article investigating snow guns (also known as “snow-machines”) and their role in the undermined future of the Australian ski industry. While the Australian Alps provide an optimal environment for the six ski resorts that currently exist, Pickering and Buckley explain that each establishment will need to drastically increase snow-making activity in order to sustain skiable terrain as the level of natural snowfall decreases every year. However, after spending 9 years collecting data on natural snow cover, skier numbers, the costs and yields of snow-making in the region, the number of snow guns resorts employ, and the total costs of the guns (referring to costs of the guns themselves as well as the “associated infrastructure”) while assuming a predicted 2020 climate change-induced scenario (in which it is predicted that the mean annual temperature will increase by approximately 1.0°C and precipitation will decrease by up to 8.3%) the authors concluded that snow-based tourism in Australia will almost certainly be forced to find an alternate solution to the low natural snow levels of the years ahead Continue reading