Behavior change

Climate Week is over. What do we do now?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Jolting us back to earth from the exhilarating high of Climate Week was the release of a sobering report that atmospheric CO2 has reached record levels. From 2012 to 2013, atmospheric CO2 increased more than any other time since 1984.

Despite the marches, business coalitions, divestment pressure and political shifting, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to climb on average 2.5 percent per year for the last decade. Inspiration? Got it. Awareness? Check. Meaningful deep reductions in CO2 emissions? Not so much.

Why have we not been able to turn our good intentions into greenhouse gas reductions? Yes, some companies are taking climate seriously, seeing the opportunity of mitigating greenhouse gases, and indeed are making progress. But far more action is needed. How do we build on the growing concern among the public and the business community to achieve real, significant and lasting reductions in CO2 emissions—and fast?

There are many barriers to action. Chief among them, however, is that changing behavior is hard. As Amory Lovins and others have shown, we have the technology to achieve massive CO2 reductions, but that’s only one piece. Ben and Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim recently shared with me, “Technology gives us the ability to make changes. It does not give us the will. Will comes from an emotional connection.”

So how do we create a deep emotional connection to climate change, deep enough to motivate broad change and action?

A glimpse into our 2030 waste-free world

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Earth’s resources are unsustainable at current rates of consumption. By 2030, humans will require the equivalent resources of two Earths in order to maintain current lifestyles. Between now and then, society progressively will feel the pain of not having necessary resources and paying more for those that are still available. It’s clear that the world won’t be the same.

Part of the problem with addressing climate change is that the topic is so complex. For many of us today, it is difficult to understand that we all have a role in addressing the issue. But I believe that over the next 10 to 15 years, cutting carbon emissions will become “the norm” — a widespread activity among individuals, organizations and nations.

How do we change cultural norms? Let’s turn to a familiar example: smoking. Here’s a snapshot of what things looked like just 50 years ago:

Smart Homes Make For Angry Roommates

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If you’ve ever come home to a roommate’s dread passive-aggressive note tacked to the refrigerator door, you might not want to move into a smart home. Researchers have discovered that the smarter your home, the angrier roommates get at one another for wasting utilities.

According to research conducted by academics at the University of Nottingham, smart meters that allow housemates to track energy usage and how much it is costing the household in detail end up causing more fights than they resolve.

Does Responsible Consumption Benefit Companies More Than Consumers?

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Hybrid cars. Energy-efficient lightbulbs. Fair trade coffee. There are all sorts of products nowadays that promise to solve environmental and social problems. We’re in an era of “responsible consumption” where companies sell us goods that do better by the planet and make us feel better about our place on it. But do they make any meaningful difference?

Not according to a new paper by Markus Giesler and Ela Veresiu, two researchers at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in Canada. They argue that responsible consumption subtly shifts responsibility for big problems to consumers, leaving corporations free to continue as usual. Meanwhile, the people who should be changing the game–government and regulators–are left to one side.

SEE Action Webinar – Community Based Social Marketing

Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM CDT
Register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/896801960

This webinar will describe community-based social marketing as a behavior-based approach for developing energy-efficiency programs. The webinar will begin with an overview of the five steps involved in developing and delivering a community-based social marketing program including methods for prioritizing and selecting target behaviors, identifying barriers and benefits, leveraging behavior change tools, pilot testing, and evaluation. Each presentation will also cover case studies of scalable programs that have successfully applied the community-based social marketing model or its components to promote energy-efficiency and conservation behaviors.