Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Environmental awareness: attitude or action?

A lot of money is invested in media campaigns to foster sustainable behavior. Sometimes so much, that the money spend on spreading the information could be used to fix the problem instead.

It is not that some people are bad and some are good, several investigations says that most people are well informed about environmental issues, and have a high awareness, a lot of us have the same knowledge, and the attitudes that recycle, drive less, eat more vegetables is a good fact; but, it is just some of us that live as we learn. Why is that?

A lot of things hold us back,
  • time might be the single biggest of this; "it takes to much time to recycle, go by bus, or find the organic goods, "flight saves days!", "I should do all those things if I just had more time.."
  • money is another; "it is not that much more expensive to take the car", "organic goods are to expensive for my house-hold"
  • lack of knowledge; "I have no clue how to make a compost"
  • and a lot of other things; weather, distance, heavy to carries the food from the store, etc
So how should we do, to live as we learn?
Community-Based Social Marketing work in this way, step in that order, 1-4;

1. Every sustainable behavior have its own barriers; to identify them before doing anything else is the key. The barriers can be found with small surveys, qualitative methods, lists, meetings
2. (When known the barriers) Use the Behavior Change Tools;

- Commitment; People want to be consistent, hence they are more prone to behave a certain way if they have already committed to it. Written commitments tend to be more effective than verbal ones.

- Prompts; People are forgetful; prompts are visual or auditory reminders of specific behavior.

- Norms; People tend to behave as other people do, hence seeing that other people behave in a particular way, may convince people to behave that way themselves

- Communication; Vivid, personal and concrete. Know your audience. Credible sources. Message should be easy to remember. Present losses (in money) that occur as a result from inaction instead of savings in action. Threatening messages should follow by a concrete solution. Common goals. Feedback

- Incentives; People are affected by encouragement and perceived threats; examples of incentives are user fees, refunds, discounts, and social approval

3. Piloting in a small scale
4. Evaluation

So, is it necessary to foster everyone? Shouldn't sustainable behavior be just the standard way of living? Anyhow; we need to find the barriers for our behaviors and to do that we need to talk to the people about what is difficult and what is missing, what they need etc etc..

This can be self-organizing if we know how to do it. We need to combine a lot of knowledge to just set up the structure of a society like this; but when we have done it, it would be a wonderful place to be. And that is all we want, right?

1 comment:

  1. I think environmental awareness SHOULD be both attitude and action. obviously, there are less people doing it mainly because of their incapacity to get involved on the worldwide program. Sad to say but I guess to get them do their part, penalties should be implemented like if they do this, they need to pay a certain amount like if they don't segregate their garbage, it won't be collected, etc. So far, this has been an effective program in my home town.