Ihobe presents the Urban Klima 2050 project as an example for climate action to the UK government’s Environment team


Action on climate change is still an unfinished business that needs to be taken forward in order to achieve the proposed objectives. With this premise, Ainhize Butrón, a Climate Action technician at Ihobe, took part in the online conference Climate is changing. Why are we not acting?, organised by Natural England, the public agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (DEFRA), the benchmark in the UK’s climate action management.

Butrón gave a training talk on “the dragons of inaction”, a theory about the psychological barriers hindering climate change action. In front of more than 120 of the British Government’s environmental technicians, butrón gave the example of Action C.7.1. on citizen empowerment of the LIFE Integrated Urban Klima 2050 project. The aim is to foster the mobilisation and empowerment of the general public for climate action. Ihobe has there worked with the Environmental Psychology team at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) on the application of different psychological theories to assess and design actions that could be a turning point in citizen empowerment.

As Butrón explained at the British fórum, that approach establishes that the reasons for climate change action may be due to different barriers, dubbed “dragons”, which affect whether or not an individual acts in pro-environmental ways depending on their personal characteristics, socio-cultural factors and the context, among others. The theory concludes that it is only by overcoming each of the dragons that the individual’s behaviour can be modified so that they begin to act.

Among the objectives of the integrated LIFE Urban Klima 2050 project is the empowerment of both the public and the personnel assigned to the Administration to facilitate a change of habits through training and the design of new tools that allow progress to be made in this direction.

Ihobe’s aim for sharing the thoughts on this environmental psychological theory with Natural England technicians was to trigger a joint reflection on the extent they are optimising effort, within their organisation, to promote climate change action in nature conservation management. Natural England is responsible for ensuring that England’s natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environment, geology and soils, are protected and improved. It is also tasked with helping people enjoy, understand and access the natural environment.

Ainhize Butron, a biologist with a PhD in Ecology, is a Climate Action technician at Ihobe, the environment agency answering to the Basque Government’s Ministry for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment.