Category: Behavior change

Mental accounting is impacting sustainable behavior

Read the full story from the Université de Genève.

Human beings tend to create separate mental budget compartments where specific acts of consumption and payments are linked. This mechanism can be counter-productive when it comes to energy consumption and can have a negative impact on attempts to reduce carbon emissions. Psychologists have linked theories and research on mental accounting to energy and sustainability behavior, proposing concrete strategies to improve the impact of climate-control measures.

Associated journal article: Ulf J. J. Hahnel, Gilles Chatelain, Beatrice Conte, Valentino Piana, Tobias Brosch. Mental accounting mechanisms in energy decision-making and behaviourNature Energy, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41560-020-00704-6

Finnish town offers locals cake (and other rewards) for cutting CO2 emissions

Read the full story at EuroNews.

A town in Finland is offering cake, free transport tickets and other rewards to locals who cut their carbon emissions.

Personal connections key to climate adaptation

Read the full story from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

Connections with friends and family are key to helping communities adapt to the devastating impact of climate change on their homes and livelihoods. The research found people are more empowered to deal with the impact of encroaching sea-levels and dwindling fish stocks when they see others doing the same.

Associated journal article: Michele L. Barnes, Peng Wang, Joshua E. Cinner, Nicholas A. J. Graham, Angela M. Guerrero, Lorien Jasny, Jacqueline Lau, Sarah R. Sutcliffe, Jessica Zamborain-Mason. Social determinants of adaptive and transformative responses to climate changeNature Climate Change, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-0871-4

Organizational transition management of circular business model innovations

Hofmann, F, Jaeger‐Erben, M. (2020).  “Organizational transition management of circular business model innovations.” Business Strategy and the Environment 1–19. [open access]

Abstract: Scholars and practitioners across fields increasingly recognize that business models for the circular economy may be an effective lever for solving ecological persistent problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing natural resource scarcity. Despite a growing interest in the potential of circular business models, interconnections between the organizational dimensions of firms and their business model innovation processes remain underexplored. Based on problem‐centered expert interviews with business consultants experienced in circular business development, this study creates a conceptual model that offers structured knowledge about why firms steadily reproduce linear BMs and how incumbents manifest themselves as a constant linear‐oriented value creation system. The model also demonstrates organizational conditions and management strategies that frustrate the reproduction of linear BMs and, thus, enable initial moves towards CBM innovation. Building on this, the article provides a set of propositions on how an organizational transition management may be configured and what incumbents require to successfully navigate circular business model innovation. The findings provide a foundation for a contemporary understanding of circular business model transition management, which simultaneously serve as impulses for future research investigations.

Yeah, the Weather Has Been Weird

Read the full story in Foreign Policy.

People already care about climate change – the trick is getting them to realize it.

West Coast study: Recycling zeal doesn’t erase contamination

Read the full story in Resource Recycling.

According to a study from The Recycling Partnership, large and mid-sized cities in California see an average contamination rate of around 20%, a finding that underscores the complications of aligning enthusiastic residents with local-program realities.

How We Choose: Applying ‘Decision Science’ to Transportation Behaviors

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Can scientists understand human behavior enough to figure out what drives the choices you make? In fact, it’s called “decision science,” and it’s something that Anna Spurlock, a behavioral economist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), specializes in.

Spurlock spearheads the WholeTraveler Transportation Behavior Study, a three-year project that has attempted to analyze why and when some people adopt certain technologies – such as electric vehicles, ride-sharing, ride-hailing (like Uber and Lyft), and online shopping – while others don’t.

The study is part of the SMART (Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation) Mobility consortium, which is a multiyear consortium of several national labs developed to further understand the energy implications and opportunities of advanced mobility technologies and services. The SMART Mobility Consortium consists of five pillars of research: Connected and Automated Vehicles, Mobility Decision Science, Multi-Modal Freight, Urban Science, and Advanced Fueling Infrastructure, and is funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS) Program.

The WholeTraveler study started with an online survey in 2018 – over 1,000 San Francisco Bay Area residents responded. The survey included questions about car ownership, commute locations, demographics, personality traits, and a life-history calendar that looked at travel behaviors related to major life stages and events between the ages of 20 and 50. The survey results provided Berkeley Lab researchers with a treasure trove of data and was a major cornerstone of the Mobility Decision Science pillar of SMART Mobility.

Better rat control in cities starts by changing human behavior

Read the full story at The Conversation.

For centuries, rats have thrived in cities because of human behavior. In response, humans have blamed the rats and developed techniques for poisoning them.

We research urban rat populations and recognize that rats spread disease. But they are fascinating creatures that think, feel and show a high level of intelligence. Public concerns about rat poison harming wildlife are growing – a trend that we believe could eventually lead to rodenticide bans in many parts of the world. Without poison as an option, humans will need other rat control methods.

Rats’ many negative traits are well known. They are among the most detrimental invasive animals in cities. Urban rats are like disease sponges, congregating in the foulest reaches, where they pick up harmful pathogens. They carry the antibiotic-resistent MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius). Inside the rat gut, MRSA can interact with other diseases like ingredients in a mixing bowl, creating newer bugs that can be transported from septic systems into homes.

But common approaches to managing rats often fail to address the most important factor contributing to infestations: humans and the prolific quantities of food that they waste. The more research we do on rats in New York City and worldwide, the more we realize that rat behaviors contribute less to infestations than do humans.

How peer pressure can help stop climate change

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Buying hybrids and solar panels persuades other people to buy them. That dynamic can help stop climate change.

Adapting to climate change: We’re doing it wrong

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

When it comes to adapting to the effects of climate change, scientists and policymakers are thinking too small, according to a new research review.

The authors argue that society should focus less on how individuals respond to such climate issues as flooding and wildfires and instead figure out what it takes to inspire collective action that will protect humans from climate catastrophes on a much grander scale.

Ohio State University researchers analyzed studies that have been published to date on behavioral adaptation to climate change. They found that most studies have emphasized the psychology behind individual coping strategies in the face of isolated hazards, and came from the point of view of a single household managing their own risk.

“What we know about adaptation has come from a longer history of studying the sorts of things that are getting worse because of climate change,” said Robyn Wilson, lead author of the paper and a professor of risk analysis and decision science in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.

“If we want to really adapt to climate change, we’re talking about transformational change that will truly allow society to be resilient in the face of these increasing hazards. We’re focused on the wrong things and solving the wrong problems.”

The research review is published today (Feb. 10, 2020) in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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