How to Talk about Home Energy Upgrades

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How can home energy assessments lead to more energy efficiency upgrades? Using a behavioral science approach to answer this question, we conducted an online experiment with nearly 2,000 American homeowners and explored the latest research on motivators and barriers to investment. We learned that financial motivators are part of the equation, but not the only part. Our report delves into the art of message framing for home energy upgrades and includes several practical recommendations for assessors.

What does it look like to embed sustainability across an organization?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

A recent GreenBiz article by Joel Makower described how Cargill is preparing all of its employees to understand the concept of sustainability. The giant food and agricultural chemical company is also one of the largest private companies in the United States.

One of its managers who was very knowledgeable in sustainability felt it was time to build the profile of sustainability within the organization. The company organized a summit and invited employees from a variety of roles — supply chain, procurement, plant managers, finance, IT, sales, marketing, communications, legal, R&D, corporate affairs and government relations.

The invitation made it clear that attendees wouldn’t just be passive listeners but active participants. One goal of the event was to “create champions” throughout the company on sustainability. The summit was so successful that it was even expanded to its supply chain.

If a company is committed to integrating sustainability into its operations, it cannot do so effectively just by assigning the responsibility to a chief sustainability officer or comparable position. As Cargill got employees from all of its departments to understand and thus implement sustainability in the various departments, all companies should follow this pattern.

The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Scientists urged decades ago that we buy ourselves some insurance by cutting emissions. We yawned. Even today, when millions of people have awakened to the danger, tens of millions have not. So the political demand for change is still too weak to overcome the entrenched interests that want to block it.

Cornell Launches Free Climate Change Course Online — September 11-October 1, 2017

FREE Climate Change Science, Communication, and Action Online Course
Course Dates: September 11-October 1, 2017
Registration Link: https://cornell.qualtrics.com/jfe5/form/SV_d68I902D6SPzts1
Questions?
 E-mail civicecologylab@gmail.com

Format
You will learn about basic climate change science, impacts, communication strategies, and actions. You will participate in weekly online discussions and complete short quizzes and compete a final project in which you apply what you have learned to your work (e.g., develop a short plan for an educational program). Plan on an average of 3-4 hours a week of work during the course. We encourage you to form a team of colleagues or friends to take the course together. Course Delivery. Course material will be delivered via video lecture and readings. Course participants may complete assignments alone or with other students. You can access course lectures and readings at any time during the course, but we encourage you to keep up with the assignments for any one week. This course will use the learning management software Canvas for all videos, readings, assignments, and discussions. We will use a closed Facebook group as an optional discussion platform where course instructors and participants can post resources, pose questions, and “meet” others with similar interests.

Benefits to the Learner You will learn about climate change science, communication, and action from experts and apply this knowledge to local climate action projects. You will also have the opportunity to share your ideas and projects with other participants and learn from each other. You can use the materials for proposal writing, program development, and to enhance your career.

COURSE OVERVIEW
Participants.
Cooperative Extension Educators, Master Volunteers, state and local government, land trusts and other non-profits, Cornell students and staff, and others interested in an introduction to climate change science and how to communicate effectively about this important topic.

Cost: Free

Certificates
Achievement Certificate awarded to those who complete course weekly assignments. Expert certificate awarded to those who complete weekly assignments and final project.

Course Objectives.
Participants will:

  1. Increase their understanding of the basics of climate change science and communication and action strategies.
  2. Make new connections and share resources as part of an online network of Extension educators, master volunteers, university students and employees, and other professionals, volunteers, and interested individuals.
  3. Enhance climate-related education and actions with youth, students, private land-owners, gardeners, master volunteers, municipal officials, colleagues, and others.

New Study Reveals Journalists Have a Hand in Controlling Public Engagement with Climate Change

Read the full story from the Society for Risk Analysis.

Could fear and hope hold the key to building support for public climate change policies? News articles that stir these emotions could influence support for regulations meant to curb climate change, according to a new study published in the journal Risk Analysis: An International Journal.

The study, “Is there any hope? How climate change news imagery and text influence audience emotions and support for climate mitigation policies,” found that Americans across the political spectrum are more likely to support policies designed to mitigate climate change after viewing news articles and images that inspire hope. Articles that provoked fear, on the other hand, encouraged people to be more willing to compromise on the issue, particularly conservatives who are less likely to support climate change policies. Anger had the opposite effect, spurring people to stick to their beliefs and remain divided down political lines.

Hennepin County continues its Zero Waste Challenge to reduce household trash

Read the full story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Ali DeCamillis and her young St. Louis Park family were already thoughtful about how they reduced household trash. The plan included recycling and backyard composting.

But a hands-on, nearly yearlong “Zero Waste Challenge” initiative in Hennepin County — modeled after a successful program by a city in France — became a real eye opener for how much they could do.

“We are such a consumer-based society,” said DeCamillis. “It’s easy to bring things into your home and not think about how it gets disposed. We couldn’t have tackled this without the county’s help.”

Her family was one of 35 households picked from among 200 applicants for the program. The commitment included attending several workshops and weighing their waste every week. A county staffer frequently met with the households, assessing waste patterns to develop a reduction plan.

Understanding alternative reasons for denying climate change could help bridge divide, study finds

Read the full story from the University of Kansas.

Mainstream criticism of people who deny climate change essentially portrays climate skeptics as being out of touch, ignorant or somehow incapable of understanding the facts about climate change.

However, an early look at ongoing work by a University of Kansas researcher examines alternative reasons for climate change denial, specifically economic, social or cultural influences on why individuals or entire communities remain skeptical of climate change.