School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice

Psychology for a Better World: Strategies to Inspire Sustainability

About the book


Psychology for a Better World is for people who believe it is worth trying to make a world in which both our species and the ecological systems we are part of can flourish. The book is based on the latest research in psychology and is jam packed with action strategies. It offers new ways to think about how people interact in social settings, why we are tempted to stick with what we know, and how the same characteristics that currently keep us hooked into unsustainable practices can be used to move us forward. The final chapter is a guide to help you analyse what you are doing to contribute towards a better world, and how you can be more effective while simultaneously increasing your personal wellbeing.

Listen to Niki’s interview about Psychology for a Better World with Kim Hill on the Radio New Zealand website.

Watch a 15 minute film (with animations) of the main ideas in the book.

About the author

Niki Harré is an associate professor at the University of Auckland where she has taught social and community psychology for twelve years. Her recent research projects have focused on sustainable communities and schools, positive youth development and political activism. In 2007 Niki edited, with Quentin Atkinson, the book Carbon Neutral by 2020: How New Zealanders Can Tackle Climate Change. Niki is an active member of the Pt Chevalier Transition Town.

Niki’s homepage and contact details

Get the book



“Niki persuades us in a personable and convincing way to look more deeply at our motivations and strategies when advocating for improved social and environmental conditions.”
Hugh Norriss, Mental Health Foundation NZ

“I strongly recommend Niki Harré’s book for all community-minded academics and advocates who are curious about how to apply psychological theory and research to address real world concerns. .. The entire text is derived from research clearly and artfully presented in the form of case examples and stories. Harré’s writing flows seamlessly from how to frame your thinking about sustainability, to tips on building a movement.”
Judah Viola, The Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice

“A sensational book by a visionary psychologist and thinker.”
Pam Corkery, Broadcaster

“This book walks the talk on truly wanting to help people use the information learned by psychology to create a better world. Harré has written a book that is freely distributed, well referenced, easily accessible and eminently useful. Take an empowering journey into psychology, read this book!”
Kim Stewart, Friends of the Earth Brisbane

“This very readable book delivers all that it promises and much more.”
Janine McVeagh, Te Awa

“Niki blends her scientific understanding with wisdom and a clear set of personal ethics.”
Maureen Howard, Organic NZ Magazine

“Harré balances the objective of scientifically informed advocacy with her own struggles to be the change she wants to see in the world… This book should inspire.”
Professor Thomas Suddendorf, University of Queensland, Australia

“I found myself re-reading the book, delving into it at random after the initial read-through; a good sign for any inspirational text… In all, the package - the book, the videos, the innovative marketing - are a must-have for any sustainability professional's bookshelf and role modelling.” Alex Stone, Just Good Business

Self-help Guide for Sustainability Advocates

The final chapter of Psychology for a Better World brings together the strategies for change discussed in the book, and provides worksheets to enable you to decide where to put your energy. You can download the worksheets from the link below. Please note that they are designed to be used in conjunction with the book.

Self-help guide worksheets
(20.0 kB, MSWORD)