Decoupling and Contextualizing Self-Sacrifice and Intentions to Act for the Benefit of the Environment


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Darcy R. Dupuis, Psychology Department, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 [e-mail:]


We comment on Liu and Sibley's examination of cross-national differences in the relationship between perceptions of global warming and intentions to make personal sacrifices for the environment. First, although self-sacrifice is not necessary for pro-environmental action, the authors’ outcome measure conflates intentions to act and self-sacrifice. In addition to being problematic at the individual level, this framing may result in cross-national differences in meaning. Second, for developed nations, the authors seem to downplay the importance of external factors that can affect behavior. We expand by discussing barriers to action that cannot be surmounted by individuals’ intentions alone.