Cellulose or Spirit: The Challenges of Reconciling the Economic and Spiritual Views of Nature

  • Matthew Billet, Psychology, UBC
    Coach House, Green College (Resident Members only) and livestreamed

    Monday, January 24, 8-9 pm
    in the series
    Green College Resident Members' Series

    The ecological crisis is a crisis of culture. Do not be mistaken, this is not a comforting truth. Cultures provide the models of reality that shape how we perceive the world around us. These models of reality tell us, for example, if a forest is mere cellulose or really the domain of spirits. Our models of reality are deeply embedded in societal structures, they are powerful determinants of behaviour and are highly resistant to change. Viewing the ecological crisis in this way, however, turns out to be necessary. It reveals challenges to creating a sustainable future that may have otherwise been invisible. To advance this perspective, this talk will draw on psychological and anthropological research, including some of Matt's own, which was conducted here at UBC under the supervision of Ara Norenzayan.


    Matthew Billet is a PhD student in Social/Personality Psychology, co-supervised by Ara Norenzayan and Mark Schaller. His research focuses on how moral and religious cognition influence decision-making, particularly in the domain of environmental protection. He employs multiple methodologies in his work (experimentation, cross-cultural methods, behavioural economics and text analysis) and is a proponent of open science.

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.


January 24th, 2022 from  8:00 PM to  9:00 PM
Coach House
6201 Cecil Green Park Rd
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
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