Childhood trauma linked to civic environmental engagement, green behavior

Read the full story from the University of Colorado.

Experiencing childhood trauma may lead an individual to volunteer, donate money or contact their elected officials about environmental issues later in life, according to recent research published in Scientific Reports.

The CU Boulder and Loyola University study is one of the first in the U.S. to associate childhood trauma and public, civic environmental engagement in adulthood. It also found that, in addition to people who experienced childhood trauma, those who traveled and had experiences in nature as children were also more likely to report engaging in private “green behavior” as adults, such as recycling, driving or flying less, and taking shorter showers.

New recycling bin design discourages people from tossing in trash

Read the full story at The Japan News.

Vending machine and beverage manufacturing organizations have come up with a peculiar plastic bottle recycling bin. The receptacle’s opening points downward as part of efforts to prevent people from tossing other waste into the bin.

The idea is now attracting attention for promoting PET bottle recycling.

Climate change and human behaviour

Read the series in Nature.

The Earth is heating up fast because of anthropogenic climate change. Global greenhouse emissions continue to rise, while extreme weather events ravage lives, livelihoods and ecosystems. Scientists warn of impending disaster without urgent, decisive action. Human behaviour is not only the driver of climate change, but also crucial in fighting and mitigating its impacts. This Focus, a collaboration between Nature Human Behaviour and Nature Climate Change, features a broad range of Review and Opinion content on the role of human behaviour in adaption to climate change and mitigation of its negative consequences. This new content is complemented by relevant empirical research across the Nature Portfolio journals.

Here’s how solidarity persuades people to make sacrifices for the climate

Read the full story at Anthropocene Magazine.

In a new survey, people were more willing to pay for climate action in their country if other countries are implementing similar policies.

Study: People who lack compassion for the environment are also less emotional in general

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

People who respond less emotionally to images of damage to the environment are also less emotional and empathic in general, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Differences in political ideology can limit policy adjustments that address climate change. Researchers and practitioners often raise concern by appealing to people’s empathy.

However, some people appear less emotionally impacted by environmental destruction—particularly those who are more ideologically conservative and less pro-environmental, the study showed.

Increasing agricultural conservation outreach through social science

Jessica Espenshade, Adam Reimer and Lekha Knuffman (2022). “Increasing agricultural conservation outreach through social science.” Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 77 (4) 56A-59A; DOI: https://doi.org/10.2489/jswc.2022.0516A

Abstract: The sustainability challenges facing US agriculture now are more complex and challenging than the technological and productivity challenges of the previous century (Batie 2009). Addressing these challenges requires a different approach to conservation outreach. In this paper, we outline a new approach that leverages the social sciences and an understanding of human decision making to increase the effectiveness of outreach efforts and improve the sustainability of US agriculture.

How ‘choice architecture’ can help fight climate change

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Hidden in the IPCC’s latest climate report is a solution to reducing carbon emissions that gets less attention than solar panels or electric cars: “choice architecture,” or behavioral design, that can help influence consumers to make better decisions for the climate, whether that’s biking to work or eating less meat.

New study examines social media’s role in reducing food waste

Read the full story at Food & Beverage Industry News.

Social media campaigns can play a role in people’s food waste behaviours but work best when combined with other intervention tools, according to a new Fight Food Waste CRC report

The role of felt responsibility in climate change political participation

Sammi Munson, John Kotcher, Edward Maibach, Seth A Rosenthal, Anthony Leiserowitz (2021). “The role of felt responsibility in climate change political participation.” Oxford Open Climate Change, 1(1), kgab012. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfclm/kgab012 [open access]]

Abstract: This research letter investigates the role of feelings of responsibility to reduce climate change (i.e. ‘felt responsibility’) as an antecedent to climate change-related political behaviors and intentions, including willingness to join a campaign, likelihood of supporting pro-climate presidential candidates and past contact with elected officials. Using nationally representative survey data (n = 1029), we find that felt responsibility has a significant positive relationship with future behavioral intent, but not past behavior. Implications and future research are discussed.

Webinar: Leveraging Behavioral Science for Continuous Improvement within SEM

Apr 27, 2022, 11 am CDT
Register here.

Energy efficiency program administrators across the U.S. and Canada have been working together to improve the performance of their Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programs. While SEM can support decarbonization of operations at customer sites and often provides other non-energy benefits, these programs are challenging to administer and implement and they rely on customer commitment. To ensure program offerings meet customers’ needs while maintaining flexibility, a committee of program administrators from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), with input from their SEM implementation contractors, is looking at the key role of behavioral science in making SEM more effective and inspiring customer commitment. The committee is also determining how to most effectively evaluate energy-saving measures that leverage behavioral science.

To cite an example: at a recent CEE Industry Partners session, an SEM implementer illustrated the importance of employee engagement in making the cultural shift to SEM. One way he leverages behavioral science in practice is through treasure hunts, which support customer buy-in to SEM.

To further explore this topic and work toward concrete demonstration of verifiable SEM impacts, a panel of several program administrators and SEM implementers will discuss the role of behavioral science in SEM based on their observations so far. Panelist presentations will be followed by facilitated discussion.