Our top research and advice for the planet from 2022

January 19, 2023

To solve our greatest environmental challenges, people need to change their behavior—how we eat, use energy, get around and interact with nature. While change is hard, Rare’s approach to research and engagement is based on understanding how people make decisions, the realities different communities face, and how we can overcome barriers to action together.

In 2022, we shared our best advice and insights with the environmental community to help in applying the science of human behavior to climate change, unsustainable agriculture, and other human-induced challenges.

Here’s the roundup of our best advice from 2022.


1. How to talk to the Climate Change Deniers, Skeptics, Worriers, and Newbies in Your Life

Research by Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment shows that people are most influenced by their close friends and family. As social beings, we trust those around us and we’re more likely to adopt a new behavior if we see those we know doing it, too. This guide can help you talk about the climate crisis with the people in your life.

Check out our tips


2. Eight principles for effective and inviting climate communication

One of the major challenges of the climate crisis is conveying the science in a way that inspires people to take action. Our science-based principles for communicating about climate change can help to convey messages about climate change more effectively.

Check out the principles


3. Using emotions like anger to your (environmental programming) advantage

In this peer-reviewed Ecology & Society article, the Center for Behavior & the Environment’s Katie Williamson and Erik Thulin explore why harnessing people’s emotions is a central but undervalued tool for helping people adopt more sustainable behaviors.

Check out the findings


4. Six behaviors to regenerate soil and revitalize smallholder farming

Regenerative agriculture is a powerful climate change solution that can transform farmers’ relationships with the land. Learn how Rare’s Lands for Life program is making it easier for farmers in Colombia to adopt regenerative farming practices.

Check out the practices


5. Establishing effective marine protected areas at the intersection of people and nature

Attention ocean lovers! In this peer-review Marine Policy article, Rare co-authors Courtney Cox, Stuart Campbell, and Raymond Jakub, together with leading scientists, crack the code on a missing element of effective fisheries management: fish larvae movement. This information is helping researchers and management agencies identify the best locations to strengthen conservation efforts and improve fisheries management.

Learn what fish larvae can tell us


6. How social norms are vital to maximizing America’s landmark investment in tackling climate change

In August 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the most significant climate change policy in American history. But incentivizing climate-positive behaviors is one thing; getting people to adopt them is another. Rare CEO Brett Jenks wrote about how insights from the science of human behavior can help everyday Americans maximize the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Learn more about the science


7. How to get farmers to adopt more regenerative agriculture practices

What prevents farmers from shifting their behaviors? Why are farmers reluctant to experiment with new methods and inputs? Illustrated with data from partner organizations in Mexico, China, Peru, and Colombia, the Behavior Change for Agriculture Guide explores farmers’ motivations and barriers to help design programming that supports the world’s 570 smallholder farmers to adopt more regenerative agriculture.

Check out the guide


8. Changing hearts and minds on-screen and at home

Stories have the power to change hearts and minds. But don’t just take our word for it—science says! In 2022, Rare partnered with the nonprofit, Good Energy, on a playbook to help Hollywood storytellers inspire individual climate action. Read about the psychology behind how screenwriters can change the hearts and minds of their audience.

Learn how to change hearts and minds


9. Aim high. Behave honorably.

As we mourned the loss of conservation champions E.O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy in late 2021, we also reflected on their legacies of enduring optimism and mentoring the next generation of conservation scientists. E.O. Wilson’s four words will continue to guide Rare’s work for the challenges that lay ahead.  “Aim high. Behave honorably.”

Read Brett’s perspective on the wisdom of two conservation pioneers


10. Solving global conservation challenges with an equitable and inclusive community-led approach

In the latest installment of “Rare Quotes,” new President Caleb McClennen, PhD, shares why connection, inclusion, and diversity are core to effective conservation strategy.

Watch the video


Photo Credit: Jason Houston for Rare.