Call for Nominations: Landmark Behavior Change Case Studies

Tools of Change is soliciting nominations for its 2017 Landmark behavior change case studies in two topic areas – (1) energy conservation and (2) sustainable transportation. If you know of anyone working on a particularly effective or innovative approach for changing energy or transportation behaviours, please consider nominating them – or yourself. All nominations must include measured impact results.

Designation as a “Landmark” (best practice) case study through this peer selection process recognizes behavior change programs and approaches considered to be among the most successful, innovative, replicable and adaptable in the world. Designated programs gain exposure and credibility, and we prepare and post detailed on-line program case study materials, which may help them attract customers and investors, and maintain or increase program funding.

Nominations are screened by Tools of Change staff and then the most promising are rated by peer selection panels based on a standard scoring grid. Designated programs are highlighted in our webinars and written case studies, and in the accompanying webinar transcripts and video recordings. Program organizers get a Landmark designation logo for use on websites and in electronic newsletters, providing click-through access to the program’s case study materials.

The nomination form, which can be downloaded from www.toolsofchange.com/en/landmark/, must be submitted by June 5, 2017. Designations will be announced by October 2017, and case study webinars will be presented between January and June 2018.

To view Landmark case studies designated in past years, go to www.toolsofchange.com/en/landmark/.

Climate change is more than a tech problem, so we need more than a tech solution

Read the full story in Ensia.

Climate change is just one of many related sustainability problems that the world faces. In addition to rising atmospheric CO2, we are approaching or have already exceeded multiple other planetary boundaries — such as fresh water, nitrogen, phosphorus and biodiversity loss — that CO2-mitigating technologies cannot solve. Solving climate change on its own would require immense investments but leave too many other problems unaddressed. That is not to say that these technological innovations are irrelevant; Pacala and Socolow’s desire to break down the challenge into manageable pieces is both valid and appreciable. What’s missing from their assessment is the fact that the world is a complex system, and systemic problems require systemic solutions.

Energy Savings Can Be Fun, But No Need To Turn Off All The Lights

Read the full story from NPR.

A new company is doing more than just monitoring electricity use.

It’s making tracking your electrical data fun.

Steve Reed of San Diego says he signed up for free with OhmConnect. He was eager to see how much his family could cut back on electricity at times when there is a high demand for it in the area.

Soon, he got a text prompting him to lower use for an hour — from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. the next day.

How to push climate action forward in the Trump era

Read the full story at Grist.

I spent the past eight years communicating the policies and priorities of President Obama — on his campaigns, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Talking about climate impacts and public health was a huge part of my work, and it was all-consuming. White House staff suggested I cancel my bachelorette party, which was scheduled for the weekend before the launch of the Clean Power Plan. I got married two weeks after visiting Fukushima, and announced the VW emissions scandal a week later. I delayed my honeymoon until after the Paris climate talks. But it was worth it, because the work we were doing was so important.

Then came the shock of Nov. 8. Washington, D.C., didn’t see it coming, and the environmental community in particular was blindsided. We hoped the Clinton administration would take President Obama’s strong environmental legacy and build on it, leading the U.S. and the world toward a clean energy economy. People were betting on what actions President Clinton would take first. Budgets were prepared, announcement rollouts were planned. But the election sent everything into a tailspin.

Now, as environmental and public health advocates plan for the next few years, they’re operating in a completely different landscape. But I think lessons I learned in the Obama years can be helpful for those communicating about climate change in the Trump era. Here are a few of them:

Chicago goes ‘back to basics’ to boost dismal recycling rate

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago is launching a “back-to-basics” campaign to boost a recycling rate that has dropped to just 4.5 percent on the Southeast Side and 9 percent citywide since the rules were changed to “Go Bagless.”

Worries about food waste appear to vanish when diners know scraps go to compost

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

Diners waste far less food when they’re schooled on the harm their leftovers can inflict on the environment. But if they know the food is going to be composted instead of dumped in a landfill, the educational benefit disappears.

Zero Waste is Within Our Reach, But….

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

I would have guessed that my fellow EPA employees would be leaders when it comes to recycling and reducing wastes. Turns out we are leaders, but not quite as far out front as I had hoped. In 2015, a presidential Executive Order on Sustainability directed federal agencies to do their best to divert at least half our non-hazardous wastes into recycling and composting, and to work our darnedest to reach zero waste. While we at EPA’s New England office have indeed succeeded in diverting more than half our waste to recycling and compost,  our regional office has yet to achieve net-zero waste (defined as sending at least 90 percent of our waste to recycling or composting) despite our best efforts.  We, like many other organizations, face many of the same challenges when it comes to modifying our own behavior.