Because environmental degradation can be looked at as the outcome of damaging and wasteful human behavior, a movement started to renew conceptualizations of environmental problems with regard to psychological, social, and behavioral factors. Social scientists have begun to draw attention to the necessity of human variables in any potential solution to environmental problems such as the conservation of energy (e.g., ). Even though this human or behavioral approach has often been referred to as the counterpart of the technological approach, it is more an addition because its measures are the guarantee that technological advances are being implemented.
In the past, there have been two central theories to explain human behavior with regard to the environment: the rational-economic theory and the attitude theory. These two theories, as well as other approaches such as goal-setting and feedback will be discussed in the following sections to develop a combination of methods and measures, which will be successful in raising awareness and changing energy use.
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