Winner: Ann-Christine Duhaime
Minding the Climate: How Neuroscience Can Help Solve Our Environmental Crisis
Ann-Christine Duhaime's important book starts from a straightforward premise: because today's most urgent existential threats - including global warming, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity - are rooted in human behavior, overcoming them requires understanding why we behave in ways that imply long-term harm. "Neuroscience historically has not turned much of its attention to climate change," Duhaime writes, "but the field is steeped in the study of behaviors that are relevant to this problem."
Minding the Climate offers what the jury called "a new angle" that "spans everything from the highly personal to national policy conversations." As our day-to-day activities contribute roughly half to greenhouse-gas emissions, Duhaime makes a compelling case that changing individual behavior holds the key to addressing the climate crisis.
To that end, Minding the Climate explores the interrelations between the brain's reward system and our reluctance to engage in pro-environmental behavior, and offers practical insights that might help us behave differently. Duhaime's deeply and carefully researched study features relevant findings from evolutionary biology, psychology, economics, consumer studies, marketing, sociology, public health, child development, education, in addition to environmental science,. While challenging and technical at times, Minding the Climate is often lively and entertaining, showing which behaviors add most to dangerous emissions, and how the brain's evolution limits, but does not rule out, behavioral change.
The PS Book Award
The principle of sustainability – of our economies, our societies, our democracies, and of Earth itself – has increasingly become the lens through which people view the myriad and interrelated challenges of our age. Whether the goal is economic progress, social cohesion, environmental conservation, or the preservation of democracy, the principle has come to define global debate.
Launched in 2023, the Project Syndicate Sustainability Book Award, presented in partnership with La Banque Postale, recognizes one new book each year that offers uniquely valuable contributions to the public’s understanding of issues of global concern. Eligible books may be published anywhere in the world, as long as they appeared within the preceding calendar year. The award aims to advance the public good of informed discourse by elevating works that deepen, revise, or otherwise improve our understanding of the issues, trends, and forces that will define the twenty-first century.
The winning author receives a cash prize of €15,000; finalists receive a cash prize of €1,000. If the winning title has more than one author, the prize money will be divided equally among the co-authors. The winner was announced at an award ceremony in Aix-en-Provence, France, on Saturday, July 8, 2023.