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“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein 1 public domain
Fostering Behavior Change for Sustainability Tools to Influence Action and Identity Developed for The Earth Ethics Institute at Miami-Dade College by Scott Perret bikes: Diane Groves hands: Richard Styles bin: sxc.hu 2 © Scott Perret 2011
Sustainability: “ Enough for all, forever.” 3 © Scott Perret 2011
With what programs are you involved? 4 © Scott Perret 2011
What results are you going for? BE / O 5 © Scott Perret 2011
What are your strategies? IS 6 © Scott Perret 2011
Why behavior change? 7 © Scott Perret 2011
One good reason: climate change We have a 3 to 15 year window to slow climate change. 1 80% of the CO2 released from human activity in the US is the result of people’s behaviors. 2 15% of US CO2 emissions (1 bil metric tons) could be cut through simple behavior changes like not idling our cars. 3 We can move behavior more quickly & cheaply than the other wedges. It’s the “low-hanging fruit.” 1 & 2: (McKenzie-Mohr, 11/14/10)3: Time, Bryan Walsh, 3/17/10 8 © Scott Perret 2011
Sustainability = changing behavior and identity. The creation of sustainable societies will require shifts in what we do and how we do it (behavior)… 9 sxc.hu © Scott Perret 2011
…as well as how we think of ourselves (identity). © Scott Perret
Information Campaigns: the standard strategy © Scott Perret Earth Ethics Institute
Everyone does info campaigns because… © Scott Perret 2011 sxc.hu 12
…they’re easier. It’s what everyone does. There is tremendous power in the status quo. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we...?” We get to base programs on our assumptions, which means less homework & less friction. Info campaigns are often easier & faster to roll out. They seem cheaper (until you measure cost per result). 13 © Scott Perret 2011
We also do info campaigns because we think they should work. Economic Self Interest says humans are reasonable and will act in their own self-interests. The Attitude-Behavior Approach says educating people will foster attitudes that are supportive of a desired behavior, and these attitudes will in turn foster the behavior itself. public domain 14 © Scott Perret 2011
But they don’t work. Example: Disaster Response Economic Self-Interest doesn’t reliably predict or determine behavior. sxc.hu 15 © Scott Perret 2011
Attitudes don’t reliably predict or determine behavior, either. Example: Litter Study sxc.hu 16 © Scott Perret 2011
That means education alone doesn’t work. Giving information may change attitudes, but it rarely changes behavior. public domain 17 © Scott Perret 2011
Result of Information Campaigns: wasted time, energy and resources Scott Perret 18 © Scott Perret 2011
Note: Attitudes are a prerequisite for behavior change, but they rarely determine it. 19 © Scott Perret 2011
But, wait! What about traditional advertising? ooh la la ! Nissan Leaf 20 © Scott Perret 2011
What are they asking us to do? vs sxc.hu Chevrolet Volt Nissan Leaf 21 © Scott Perret 2011
Summary: why info campaigns don’t work Traditional information and advertising campaigns don’t produce behavior change because they underestimate the complexity of human behavior. Many factors influence each of our behavior choices. Our attitudes, knowledge and economic self-interest are only a few, and often among the weakest. 22 © Scott Perret 2011
There are several keys to changing behavior Careful Study and Planning + A “Key Ring” of Influence Tools sxc.hu 23 © Scott Perret 2011
Two birds with one stone: Changing behavior can change identity. Self-Perception Theory Argues people’s self-perceptions are partly created by looking at their actions and “working backwards” to see what those actions say about them. If we can provide opportunities for people to engage in sustainable behaviors conveniently, the very act of engaging in those behaviors can shape their attitudes. 24 © Scott Perret 2011
Approaches to Behavior Change Community-Based Social Marketing Influence Tools from the social sciences The Social Cure: peer pressure for positive outcomes (clubs, movements, community) 25 © Scott Perret 2011
Why are these approaches more effective? They take into account the complexity and social nature of human behavior. Agnes Eperjesy 26 © Scott Perret 2011
Psychology meets Social Marketing We are most likely to respond to direct communications from people we know, or at least people we perceive to be like ourselves, from our own community. It’s about peer groups and social norms. The #1 predictor of changed behavior is having a friend who already “did that.” Scott Perret 27 © Scott Perret 2011
Community-Based Social Marketing developed by Doug McKenzie-Mohr Environmental Psychologist 28 © Scott Perret 2011
The 5 Steps of Community-Based Social Marketing 1. Select behavior(s) to target 2. Identify barriers and benefits 3. Develop your strategy 4. Pilot your strategy 5. Implement broadly & evaluate results 29 © Scott Perret 2011
Never Assume; Do The Homework We must resist the temptation to believe we already know the answers. We mustn’t blow our precious resources just because it seemed like a cool idea, or we assumed we knew what would work. “Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex than our subsequent explanations of them.” --Dostoevsky sxc.hu 30 © Scott Perret 2011
Pre-Step 1: Select your issue(s) Water Air Food Energy Waste Streams Climate Change Use of Plastics Community Building Etc… sxc.hu 31 © Scott Perret 2011
Select the right behavior to target Which sector can give us the impactful results we want? What are the biggest chunks within that sector? What behaviors would have the greatest impact on those chunks? – Analyze these to identify the best ones to target What is the probability we can get these behaviors adopted? sxc.hu 32 © Scott Perret 2011
Who are you trying to reach? Know your target market Who needs to engage in the behavior you want to encourage in order for you to get your desired results and level of impact? Who is engaging in the behavior you want to discourage? Different communities/groups often perceive different barriers & benefits for the same behavior. sxc.hu 33 © Scott Perret 2011
Barriers & Benefits: a golden key Identify barriers & benefits for both the behavior you want to encourage, and for the behavior you want to discourage, or replace. Most barriers hide at the level of the activities that make up a behavior. Do the homework; don’t guess. sxc.hu 34 © Scott Perret 2011
Develop your strategy (Perceived) Barriers (Perceived) Benefits Behavior to Encourage Behavior to Discourage How: Select influence tools for your strategy based on your target audience’s perceived barriers and benefits. 35 © Scott Perret 2011
Pilot your strategy See if it works! Sample group can be small (at least people). If you’re not getting the results you want, ask why, tweak the strategy, then pilot again. sxc.hu 36 © Scott Perret 2011
Implement, then evaluate results See McKenzie-Mohr for: What you might measure When you might measure Scott Perret sxc.hu 37 © Scott Perret 2011
A Key Ring of Influence Tools compiled from the work of Robert Cialdini & Doug McKenzie-Mohr sxc.hu 38 © Scott Perret 2011
A key for every lock Robert Cialdini’s Weapons of Influence 1.Social Proof 2.Commitment 3.Consistency 4.Authority 5.Reciprocity 6.Liking 7.Scarcity & Fear of Loss Doug McKenzie-Mohr’s CBSM Behavior Change Tools 1.Social Norms 2.Commitment 3.Social Diffusion 4.Prompts 5.Effective Communication 6.Incentives 7.Convenience 39 © Scott Perret 2011
Case Study: Car Idling in Canada From the work of Doug McKenzie-Mohr Andy Greenhouse 40 © Scott Perret 2011
© Natural Resources Canada 41 © Scott Perret 2011
Combining influence tools for powerful results Personal contact by community member Authority Knowing the target audience Social proof Prompts Commitment – Made public & enduring, where possible Information/education + Reciprocity Created toolkit for use by others 42 © Scott Perret 2011
The Social Cure Peer Pressure for Positive Outcomes compiled from the work of Tina Rosenberg and David Gershon Sava Marinkovic 43 © Scott Perret 2011
Quotes from Join the Club “These campaigns…accomplish what countless efforts throughout the centuries have failed to do: persuade people to take action that is crucial to their long-term well-being but appears unpleasant, dangerous or psychologically difficult today.” “What all these marketing strategies …have in common is that they sell the idea that buying the product will make the customer more respected and embraced by his or her peer group. If you want people to rally to the cause, it has to be about them, not the cause.” What’s in it for them? 44 © Scott Perret 2011
David Gershon’s Eco-Teams “These programs change personal behavior through social pressure. They offer people a new and desirable club to join—a peer group so strong and persuasive that the individual adopts a new identity.” -Tina Rosenberg Eco-Team leaders identified by community organizers Team leaders recruit their neighbors for block group 1.Help conserve resources for the sake of our children 2.Get to know each other better as neighbors 3.Make our neighborhood a healthier, safer place to live 45 © Scott Perret 2011
Gershon’s numbers “These households on average reduced their annual solid waste by 40 percent, water use by 32 percent, energy use by 17 percent, vehicle miles traveled by 8 percent, CO2 emissions by 15 percent, and achieved financial savings of $255.” Model applied to water conservation : Participating households averaged 10 water stewardship actions each and achieved water usage savings of 44 percent, or 20,000 gallons per year per participant. 46 © Scott Perret 2011
Narrative describing David Gershon’s eco- teams/sustainable lifestyles program, can be found here (4-part blog): blogs/david_gershon/ 47 © Scott Perret 2011
Parting Shots Christopher Mazzoli 48 © Scott Perret 2011
Behavior change is doable & important, though its complexity requires more process than we might be used to. It wouldn’t seem overwhelming, or like “more work” if we’d been doing it this way all along. 49 © Scott Perret 2011
Bibliography Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing, by Doug McKenzie-Mohr (www.cbsm.com) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini Join The Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World, by Tina Rosenberg Scott Perret Amazon.com 50 © Scott Perret 2011
Look in the Book Bucket under Behavior Change sxc.hu 51 © Scott Perret 2011
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