Behavior change

Milton Glaser designs It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying campaign to tackle climate change

Read the full story at Dezeen.

Milton Glaser, the graphic designer behind the ubiquitous I heart NY logo, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of climate change.

Glaser’s It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying campaign aims to create a greater sense of urgency around climate change, moving away from benign language like “global warming”.


Becoming a Change Agent for Sustainability

Read the full post at the Community College Sustainability Collaborative.

A few summers ago, I attended a week-long training on campus sustainability at the University of Vermont. It was one of the best trainings I’ve ever attended and the facilitator (Debra Rowe) at one point, after I had described some of the things I had accomplished in my career, congratulated me on being a successful activist for sustainability. That’s when the trouble started; you see I have never considered myself an activist, to me an activist spends way too much time screaming and making other people feel bad. I have always preferred to consider myself a subversive, someone who works somewhat under the radar to make change. The fact is though, that the term subversive carries a heavy negative connotation so it’s not a label I use for myself very often. In Vermont our disagreement resulted in me coming to a change in how I should refer to myself, so I’ve come around to the term change agent. I don’t think that labels are nearly as important as actions but this particular label got me thinking in a couple of ways. First, really what is a change agent? Secondly, at the encouragement of the facilitator, to really take a look at how in fact you do make change happen within an organization or community. The result of course is what follows.

Helping the Heartland to love sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

“The sky is still blue, the grass is still green and I’ve been doing things this way for years.” This phrase, and its variations, signal one of the biggest challenges a sustainability professional will encounter. Before you can develop programs, train individuals or create a business plan to implement sustainability goals, you have to get to the root of an issue: culture.

The 10-county region of Northeast Indiana is a picture of classic America, full of great people with strong values and solid work ethics. Its population is nearly 700,000 and covers a wide range of economic and social backgrounds. Electricity and utility costs are below the national average. We experience all four seasons, each of a reasonable length.

The second largest city in the state, Fort Wayne, is in our region; so are three large rivers. Fort Wayne has received numerous awards such as Tree City USA, Green Community, All-America City and others that give its citizens a deserved and well-earned sense of pride.

What integrated sustainability really means

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

For more than 20 years, I’ve been among those promoting a more integrated approach to sustainability. It’s not just about the environment and resources, I keep reminding people. It’s about systems: understanding their interconnections, the viability of their long-term trends, their limits.

And sustainable development is about changing systems — for the better.

In my books, articles, training courses, even my songs, I’ve hit that message over and over for decades. I invented the “Sustainability Compass” to try to make the links between nature, economy, society and human well-being simpler and more intuitive. On very old YouTube videos, you can watch me lecturing government officials on why sustainability is not the same thing as environmentalism, or singing “The System Zoo” to get people rockin’ to the beat of system dynamics.

But lately, I’ve realized that I don’t have to work so hard at broadcasting this message. People get it now. I know that, because they are starting to lecture me back, on the same topic.

The Water Short List: The Most Effective Actions U.S. Households Can Take to Curb Water Use

Read the full article in Environment Magazine.

The long-term sustainability of many urban water supply systems in the United States is under assault from a confluence of forces. Climate change, an aging and increasingly obsolete water infrastructure, an expanding population in water-scarce regions, and economic growth are several of the formidable challenges to meeting present and future freshwater demands.1 Water conservation (broadly defined as reducing water use) offers a cost-effective and environmentally benign way to address these challenges in comparison to capturing, transporting, and treating new supplies.2 American households, a key end user of publicly supplied water, can play a vital role by curbing their own water use through installing water-efficient appliances (e.g., clothes washing machines) and fixtures (e.g., faucets) and adopting conserving habits. Determining the extent to which overall water use can be curbed can demonstrate the potential broader role that households can play in contributing to more sustainable water systems. Furthermore, identifying the most effective actions can help individuals and households with limited time, attention, and resources prioritize actions with larger savings.

Intermarché – “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”

Intermarché, a French supermarket chain, launched the Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables, a media campaign, celebrating the beauty of less than perfect fruits and vegetables. The chain also made this produce available at a 30% discount and offered samples to show consumers that they taste the same as their more perfect counterparts. The goal of the campaign was to raise awareness about how much food is wasted because it doesn’t look perfect. The video below gives an overview of the campaign and its results.

Why targeting 4 human emotions is key to marketing sustainability

Read the full story in The Guardian.

While brands have been remarkably successful at feeding universal human drives, such as the desire for adventure, power or status, sustainability has not been seeing the same success in its messaging. What sustainability needs to create the same impact is a similar level of insight into the best way to embrace the full range of human emotions. Because it’s human emotion that’s at the heart of what motivates us.

6 reasons technology alone can’t solve water scarcity

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Sustainably addressing water scarcity will require technology solutions both conventional and innovative — both the “hard path for water” and the soft path for water. The conventional “hard path for water” is characterized by centralized infrastructure and decision-making using technology and institutions developed in the 19th and 20th centuries: large dams and reservoirs, pipelines and treatment plants, public water departments and agencies and private companies.

6 ways collaboration can boost sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A room filled with 10 companies, each at various stages of maturity in their sustainability programs. They’re in the same industry but are different sizes, from different markets, with different brand images and perspectives. My role is to facilitate discussion and gain consensus on a collaborative approach — despite all the differences.

I’ve been in rooms like this many times and have come to recognize there is always one constant: Collaboration is hard. Period. You have to balance competing needs and, compared to an individual corporate initiative, collaboration almost always takes more time, commitment and patience.

But it’s also worth it. Corporate collaboration can drive exponentially greater impacts. It can foster innovative solutions, level the playing field, move an industry, raise expectations for partners, influence policy and catalyze change in myriad ways.

At BSR, we recently launched five new collaborative initiatives for our member companies, and as I have worked with colleagues to get these started, I have been asking myself: How can we make these successful and just a little bit easier?

I came up with six ways. In the spirit of collaboration, I’m sharing my list: