Imperial College London

Mrs. Ute Barbara Thiermann

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Visiting Researcher
 
 
 
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Contact

 

ute.thiermann15

 
 
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Location

 

60216 Prince's GardensSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
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4 results found

Thiermann U, Sheate W, Vercammen A, 2020, Practice matters: pro-environmental motivations and diet-related impact vary with meditation experience, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1664-1078

Mindfulness has emerged as a potential motivator for sustainable lifestyles, yet few studies provide insight into the relationship between mindfulness practice levels and individual engagement in pro-environmental behaviors. We also lack information about the significance of meditators’ behavioral differences in terms of their measurable environmental impact and the motivational processes underlying these differences in pro-environmental performance. We classified 300 individuals in three groups with varying meditation experience and compared their pro-environmental motivations and levels of animal protein consumption. Exceeding prior attempts to compare high-impact behaviors of mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners, we created the most detailed classification of practice engagement by assessing frequency, experience and type of meditation practice. This nuanced view on mindfulness practice reveals that advanced meditators, who reported high levels of connectedness with nature (CWN), subjective happiness and dispositional mindfulness showed significantly more concern for the environment. They also demonstrated the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions, land occupation and water use related to their animal-protein consumption. This study is the first to follow a self-determination theory perspective to deepen our understanding of the motivational differences between meditator groups. We revealed that advanced meditators reported significantly more integrated motivation toward the environment than non-meditators. We also provided preliminary evidence for a new theoretical framework suggesting that experiential strategies such as mindfulness practices could strengthen the relational pathway of pro-environmental behaviors. Using sequential mediation analysis, we confirmed that the negative effect of mindful compassion practice on greenhouse gas emissions from animal-protein consumption is partially mediated by CWN and integrated motivation toward the

Journal article

Thiermann U, Sheate W, 2020, Motivating individuals for social transition: the 2-pathway model and experiential strategies for pro-environmental behaviour, Ecological Economics, Vol: 174, ISSN: 0921-8009

Many ecological economists advocate the need to evolve beyond capitalism if we want to flourish as a society as well as respect the safe boundaries of our planet. While becoming clearer of the shape and underlying value-structure of such a new system, we also need to think about how we can motivate people to take part in such a major social transition. This paper tackles this question by critically evaluating the underlying hedonistic-normative assumptions of current mainstream models for pro-environmental behaviours (PEB). In a self-determination theory perspective on human motivation and well-being, the paper proposes a 2-pathway model of PEB that integrates a relational pathway for environmental motivation. Based on insights from neurobiology and psychology, this paper advances current PEB theories and lays the groundwork for a new category of environmental interventions: experiential strategies. Thus, the 2-pathway model provides important theoretical insights into the link between mindfulness and sustainable lifestyles, as well as the interface between environmental behaviours and well-being. By recognising and investing in the relational capacities of individuals, we might be able to promote a society that prioritises self-actualisation over self-interest.

Journal article

Thiermann U, Sheate W, 2020, The way forward in mindfulness and sustainability: a critical review and research agenda, Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, Vol: 5, Pages: 118-139, ISSN: 2509-3304

The ecological crisis demands new strategies to rapidly transform our society into a more sustainable one. A growing amount of research points towards the potential of mindfulness to help transform people’s motivations for sustainability. This article reviews 30 years of research in mindfulness and sustainability and disentangles theoretical knowledge from empirical evidence. We identified six leading theoretical links between mindfulness and sustainability which find backing in empirical work: reduced automaticity, enhanced health and subjective well-being, greater connectedness with nature, improved pro-sociality, recognition of intrinsic values and openness to new experiences. Many of the studies involve considerable methodological caveats, most importantly a lack of mindfulness practice indicators and environmental impact measures. To reach the point where policy makers could embrace mindfulness-based policies to promote societal well-being and sustainability, the research must go beyond the present focus on correlative research. The proof of causality posits the greatest challenge for the next decade of research. Inspired by principles from policy evaluation, we propose a research agenda that offers direction for collaborative efforts and innovative interdisciplinary study designs in a logical model: (how) does the practice of mindfulness contribute to individual behaviour change and (how) does this individual change translate into societal change?

Journal article

Thrän D, Peetz D, Schaubach K, Trømborg E, Pellini A, Lamers P, Richard Hess J, Schipfer F, Hektor B, Olsson O, Bruce L, Stelte W, Proskurina S, Heinimö J, Benedetti L, Mai-Moulin T, Junginger M, Craggs L, Wild M, Murray G, Diaz-Chavez R, Thiermann U, Escobar FJ, Goldemberg J, Coelho STet al., 2017, Global wood pellet industry and market - Current developments and outlook, Pages: 1909-1912

The wood pellet use in the heating and electricity sector has recorded a steady growth in the last years. IEA bioenergy task 40 carried out an update of the situation on the national pellet markets in the most relevant pellet producing countries and the global development as well. Various country specific data is collected and compiled for more than 30 countries, containing updated information about regulatory framework, production, consumption, price trends, quality standards and trade aspects. The analysis confirmed the positive development in terms of production and consumption of wood pellets in almost all countries. In 2015, more than26Mt of wood pellets have been produced and consumed worldwide. Technologies and markets become more mature. Increased international pellet trade needs to be supported by adequate frame condition not only for commerce, but also with regard to sustainability issues.

Conference paper

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