Abstract There is now a consensus that the potential contribution of the humanities to wider environmental debate is significant, although how to develop it effectively is still unclear. This paper therefore focusses on realizing the potential of the environmental humanities through building interdisciplinary collaboration. A four-stage research model is outlined for areas where there is limited humanities scholarship, based on ongoing experience of the humanities in action in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network in the Arts and Humanities,Connecting with a low-carbon Scotland. The model has two key objectives: (1) to enable humanities disciplines to articulate their own contributions to pre-identified environmental research issues; and (2) to develop interdisciplinary humanities collaboration on these issues. It can be adapted to develop understanding in local, national and international contexts, depending on the number of scholars involved and the available resources. The knowledge which emerges can facilitate further interdisciplinary working between the humanities, STEM subjects and social sciences, and be of value to environmental policy-makers.