Category Archives: Behaviour change

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?

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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

Sceptics, climate change and the media

newspapers detailThis is a guest post by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

It’s nearly Christmas, so it must be the end of another round of UN climate talks.  One of the less reported aspects of this annual meet-up is that the 190-odd delegations often come from quite different backgrounds when it comes to popular views about climate change in their home countries.

For example, surveys show significant differences between countries as to how much people believe that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are the main driver of climate change.

At first this might seem odd. After all, reports from the IPCC and others are pretty good at laying out where there are core certainties and residual uncertainties.  And these reports get widespread coverage in most countries of the world. Read more

How creating pop-up cafes and homework clubs can encourage people to save energy

OCP_TwitterThis post is by Green Alliance policy assistant Jonny Hazell, who worked on Waste Watch’s Our Common Place project, which has recently published a report on its first year.

Waste Watch’s Our Common Place programme emerged from the simple idea that just because an organisation is interested in an environmental issue – and is being funded to act on it – doesn’t mean other people will be interested. Read more

How we greened an inner-city neighbourhood

EC1 Fluid building 2011  copy_2This is a guest post by Liz Kessler who developed a strategy to improve the EC1 area of south Islington, London. 

This project features as one of the inspirational examples in Green Alliance’s new report Towering ambitions, which will be launched at the Greening towers event tomorrow.

Since 2004 much of the EC1 area of south Islington, London, has been changed from a place that felt bleak, unsafe and colourless into one that feels safer, more attractive, neighbourly and vibrant. Read more

High rise hope: can tower blocks become models of energy efficiency?

This is a guest post by Sean Farrance-White, campaign manager at Rockwool UK.

It comes ahead of Green Alliance’s event next week Greening towers – can high rise living be sustainable?

When it comes to energy efficiency, tower blocks can be leaky. Often built at a time when energy efficiency standards were not a priority, they can be draughty, damp and expensive places to live. These issues can have social as well as environnental implications, leading to higher energy bills, more instances of fuel poverty, and even contributing to the wider public perception that tower blocks are ‘not nice places to live’.

Rockwool’s recent involvement in a landmark whole building retrofit at the Edward Woods Estate in the heart of West London has shown that consistent and well thought out refurbishment can drive social regeneration, as well as a reduction in resident’s fuel bills and lower carbon emissions. Read more

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