Dan McAdams, a narrative psychologist at Northwestern University, studies the personal life stories of people. His research shows that our personal identities do not come from personality traits or the issues that concern us at any particular time in our lives. Our identities come from the stories we tell (often unconsciously) that bring the episodes of life together into a coherent unity. These stories incorporate our concerns and express our interpretations of inherited dispositions (e.g. outgoing and sociable), but do not become an identity until they are brought together into a narrative.
This is where we can begin to think about the cultivation of ‘green’ identity. It has to do with the stories we tell ourselves about how we relate to our communities, purchases, nature, and so on.
A major obstacle to the environmental movement has been the use of stories to discredit environmental concerns. A heavily funded series of campaigns have been waged to paint environmentalists with negative stereotypes.
via Joe Brewer
Cognitive Policy Works