Category Archives: Behaviour change

We should copy France and make energy saving more fun

Photo credit EIE Pays de la LoireThis blog is by Micol Salmeri, policy assistant in the low carbon energy theme at Green Alliance.

France is tackling climate change at the local level by exploiting people’s natural competitiveness. For the past eight years, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), in collaboration with local energy agencies (such as Prioriterre), has been using energy saving competitions to encourage people to create ‘Positive Energy Families’. It has had a big impact, with nearly 30,000 families or teams, in 81 of the 101 French départements (counties), taking part since 2008, saving an average of £160 per household. Read more

What does the spectacular rise of the sharing economy mean for the environment?

Over the past five years there’s been a lot of hype about the sharing economy. Hundreds of start-ups are popping up (many of which epically fail) providing opportunities to share everything from sofas to secrets. There’s still much debate about what the sharing economy actually is, and how it overlaps with similar concepts like collaborative consumption and the peer to peer economy. Read more

One of the best things an environmentalist can do: get on a plane

Plane landing by sunriseThis post is by Brendan May, chairman of The Robertsbridge Group.

Some years ago, Prince Charles got into trouble for accepting an environment award overseas. ‘But he flew!’, they cried. Since then, from what I can tell, HRH has had to resort largely to pre-recorded video pieces or appearing as a hologram at non-British environmental summits. Mercifully, he adds as much sustainability work onto his official state visits as he can. Having seen first hand what his interventions can do to get a green cause moving (sustainable seafood, in my case) I was sufficiently irritated by the furore to write to one of the newspapers that covered the story. I argued that the Prince and others who spend most of their waking hours trying to stop business and government wrecking the planet should not just be entitled to travel the world but have an obligation to do so, building global traction for sustainability efforts. Read more

How making a game of climate change could help save the planet

ecoa action S and LThis guest post is by energy and climate change consultant Paula Owen. It first appeared on GreenBiz.com

Behaviour change interventions have so far had surprisingly limited success in motivating wider society into taking positive environmental action. Despite constant bombardment of messages regarding ice caps melting, sea levels rising, polar bears drowning, exceptional droughts, and 100-year storm occurrences becoming more frequent, a majority of the population still do nothing more than put the recycling out once a week and buy fair trade bananas from their local supermarket. Read more

What’s the link between the rising tide of populist politics and climate denial?

flooded warning signsThis post is by Matthew Lockwood, senior research fellow at the University of Exeter.

Last week I blogged on how UKIP’s rise has been mirrored by a rise in the proportion of people saying that they do not think the world is warming. There may or may not be a causal link between the two, but my hypothesis is that you would expect populism to drive climate denial, not just here but also in the US, in the form of the Tea Party movement.  Let’s assume that my hypothesis is correct. In the long term populism tends to self-destruct but, unfortunately, it can do a lot of damage before that happens. So what should those who are concerned with the effects on climate policy do about it?

Read more

Reasons to be cheerful

virunga national parkUnlike most people working on environmental issues, I spend most of my time finding and telling good news stories. When not editing the Green Alliance blog, I work on earthrise, an environmental TV show on Al Jazeera English that features promising solutions to environmental problems.

While I think we need to be realistic about the scale of the challenge, evidence suggests that there’s no quicker way to turn off your audience (whether they’re sitting on a sofa or in parliament) than being a full time purveyor of bad news.

So to lighten up your Friday afternoon, I thought I’d give you three reasons to be cheerful, gleaned from my experiences on earthrise. Read more

How to thrive in a green, low growth economy – take more holiday

Fotolia_16628224_XSThis post by Jørgen Randersprofessor of policy analysis at the Norwegian School of Management, first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

Imagine if we could limit human production to levels that managed the world’s resources better and lessened the amount of pollution emitted into the environment over a long period of time. Rationing paid work, by allocating to each inhabitant the right to an equal number of paid hours of work per year, could make this possible. Read more

Radical activists play a vital role in political & corporate change

Police removed groups of Dutch protesters one after anotherThis post by George Marshall,  founder and programme director of the Climate Outreach Information Network, first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.

Large businesses and governments often regard radical activists as a nuisance, a threat or an outright enemy. I’ve worked with both sides and the feeling is entirely mutual. But what both sides rarely recognise is this conflict can catalyse the positive and lasting change that would be slow or impossible to achieve otherwise. Read more

Can wine, quizzes and advice help reduce people’s energy use?

Roundtable Puzzle Solving TeamThis is a guest post by Graham Smith, professor of politics at the University of Westminster, and principal investigator of a project on community-based initiatives for energy saving

It’s a widely held assumption on the part of policy-makers and activists that community engagement will lead to improved domestic energy saving. But does this assumption hold water? A three-and-a-half year research project funded under the UK Research Council’s (RCUK) Energy and Communities Programme, involving academics from the Universities of Southampton, Reading and Westminster, is testing this assumption through an innovative field experiment. Read more

« Older Entries