Environmental ABC

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER’S ABCs — BEHAVIORAL CHANGE FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS

Are you in charge of conservation campaigns?

Planning and implementing campaigns aimed at environmental conservation, is a big part of pushing for a more sustainable behavior.

Humans are complicated, and getting them to change habits can be daunting if you’re not a specialist. Budgets are tight, and who has time to learn the ins and outs of behavioral psychology?

So we launched The Environmental Planner’s ABCs —  an overview of the theories and applications of behavioral change psychology. The ABCs will give you tools to take your campaigns to the next level.

Subjects are added to the list as we blog about them.

You are always welcome to write us if you feel there are subjects we should cover, or if you have questions.

Subjects

Loss aversion:

We like what we have, and we want to keep it. This is why we are reluctant to minimize our waste production, give up meat, only use public transit, and more. It’s also why we find people who engage in such behavior, a bit extreme. Overcome loss aversion by highlighting the positive outcomes, of engaging in a new behavior. Read more.

System 1 and 2 (reptile and cognitive brain):

System 1, the reptile brain is fast, instinctive and emotional. It relies on habits to preserve energy. System 2, the cognitive brain, is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. It requires you to be focused and to do mental work – which your brain hates. This causes a rejection or downplays of the dangers of climate change. Overcome this by breaking down the problem into actionables, manageable actions you can take. Read more.

Values and environmental campaigns:

Know your audience and make sure, that what you are “selling” or advocating, is in line with their set of values. Emotion weighs heavier than logic, and hence the logical argument of environmental conservation must have the corresponding emotional argument.

If your target audience has family values, make sure your message targets those family values. Get to know your target audience, and find out if you should appeal to family values, a feeling of independence, financial arguments, or something completely different. Read more; Environmental preservation or preventing necrophile rapist ducks – know your audience.

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