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Professor Andy Hoffman: Q&A

Andy Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, will be visiting Cass to discuss what causes people to reject or accept the scientific evidence on climate change? Here he talks Cass through his working day and what he plans to talk about on 12th May.

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Andy Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, will be visiting Cass to discuss what causes people to reject or accept the scientific evidence on climate change? Here he talks Cass through his working day and what he plans to talk about on 12th May.

Tell us about your morning routine.
I get up at 7am and have yogurt and coffee.

How does your working day usually pan out?
It is usually pretty hectic, with meetings, classes, advising, phone calls, email (too much email) and efforts to block out time to write.

What sparked your interest in environmental and sustainable issues?
I was interested in the environment from a very young age. I always connected with the woods, rivers and animals where I grew up. I was an undergraduate in chemical engineering when the Love Canal disaster happened and that gave me a spark to devote my career to making sure environmental insults like that did not happen.

Do you break for lunch?
I go out for lunch - usually something quick and healthy if possible.

Who are your heroes?
Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold -- these were all great thinkers and great writers, who thought against the dominant ways of thinking in their day. In so doing, their legacy still affects us today.

What do you usually do in the evenings?
I eat at home with my girlfriend or go out for a work related dinner. The last non-work book I read was The Wright Brothers by David McCollough. I like non-fiction. For TV, I do not have cable and rely on Netflix, where I watch documentaries and movies. My favourite movie is Field of Dreams. I go to bed around 10pm.

What are you going to be talking about on 12th May?
I'll be talking about the ways in which culture influences our understanding and acceptance of climate change -- and how climate change alters our culture. It is a presentation, based on my book, which brings together as much social science as I could find to explain the psychological, sociological and political reasons why some people reject the science of climate change.

Is the event just for “tree-huggers”?
Not at all. Climate change is a business issue. In fact, you can be agnostic about the science of climate change and still see it as a business issue. But, keeping informed about the form of the public and political debate is critical for business people because it can help them get a better sense of their future. Additionally, the things I will talk about are very useful for helping business people learn how to better explain complex topics to their employees, shareholders, customers, etc.

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