Friday 15 January 2010

Climate Change and Behavioural Change

I was at the Evaluation Support Scotland conference on Wednesday. Despite being involved in organising it, I was able to attend several sessions including the workshop facilitated by the Climate Challenge Fund. There were some very interesting discussions not only about how to evaluate projects that aim to change people's environmental behaviours but also how to encourage people to change their behaviour.

Some projects take a Weight Watchers type approach to helping people reduce their addiction to carbon. People set themselves targets on carbon reduction and then meet to talk about how well they've done in meeting their targets.

Other projects focus more on activities such as gardening, encouraging people to work together on a project. My experience in this is that when the ground needs to be cleared to make gardens, people are very keen to work together. However often once the gardens are up and running many people are more likely to work on their own garden and be less interested in communal activities.

Another approach is to stress the additional benefits of greener activities such as the health and cost saving benefits of walking or cycling rather than using the car.

What motivates you to cut your carbon footprint?


The Weaver of Grass said...

I do try very hard not to buy things which are packaged in unnecessary plastic. Also I do not own a drier and always dry my washing on a clothes line in the fresh air - or over the Aga in this weather of course. We do grow our own vegetables too I suppose every little helps, although I do sometimes despair of the situation re global warming.

Julie said...

Hi, Juliet. I was raised to care about the environment, so it's ingrained in me. I try to pass that same love to my daughter and other kids. That's a great place to start. People won't destroy what they truly love.

But everyone can improve. In rural areas in the states, we don't have public transportation. Sometimes getting "to town" is a long drive. Our cars and trucks tend to be older, because it's all we can afford. Our government had a "cash for clunkers" program in which you could trade in an older car for a discount to buy a new, more fuel efficient one. That was nice, but you had to have money to begin with. We don't.

Anyway, we've been trying to be more careful about planning trips into town for groceries or supplies, so we don't have to drive back as often. It's also easy to pick things up for other people, so they don't have to drive. I'm sure there are other things we can do, too.

Titus said...

We've vowed to never own more than one car, which husband has to have for work so I'm a walker or buser on his working days, re-cycle and compost, lots of home-made toys (plastic can do your head in) and avoid packaging at all costs. The boys are currently involved in a lovely project (via school) of the creation of large wildlife garden at the Allanton Peace Sanctuary and spent a glorious muddy day planting a mixed hedgerow. Like Weaver, never use a tumble-dryer as in our old cotage we inherited a brilliant clothes pulley for drying clothes when weather not clement.

steven said...

i don't drive at all - i bike and i walk - i get rides from my wife or friends when i need them. we have reuseable grocery bags, biodegradable everything, low voltage lighting, thermostats on timers, meat is rarely eaten in this house. at school my class leads the school in initiatives related to energy use and trasnportation alternatives. i buy carbon offsets for travel of any kind involving fossil fuels. that's where i am at as an individual. there's more, much more to come. keep up your good work!! steven

Deb G said...

Motivation? I believe in climate change and I want to do whatever I can to move towards sustainability as a life style. I think that personal life style changes can make a difference.

Tamsin said...

I think partly because it's good for the environment and partly for our own short term benefits. We grow some of our own fruit and veg because it's fun. Compost because it's more practical to stuff garden waste in there than transport it elsewhere. We've cut our electrical usage after fitting a monitor so its easy to see the savings. I think those sort of things are often bigger motivators as the benefits are more immediate and tangible.

RG said...


Martha Z said...

I care about the future generations and am afraid for them.
That motivates me to read my electric and gas meters each day and challenge myself to reduce our use of energy. Our solar cells offset almost all of our electricity use but I try to do better than that.
I've even been known to dip the warm bathwater out of the tub and pour it into the washer when I need a warm wash. (I haven't told my neighbors about that one, they'd think I was crazy if they don't already).
I live in an area of great farmer's markets and shop there often in the summer. This time of year I have 20mile round trip to find one so only go if I can bundle it with other errands.
The bottom line, I think, is to think. Think about what we are doing.