Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Does the Ecological Footprint Motivate Sustainable Behavior? More Conservation Tips from Psychology

In her presentation, "Psychology to Determine Whether Interventions Are Working", Amara Brook of Santa Clara College noted that the ecological footprint approach to motivating change to more sustainable behaviors doesn't necessarily work.

She and cohorts conducted a study that found that after receiving bad ecological footprint results (that respondants have a undesirably large footprint), participants were often so demoralized that they were less likely to follow up with a pro-environment action.

What are possible solutions to make the footprint method more effective?
1. Framing the feedback of a negative result as a "learning tool" rather than as a "personal failure". That users should take the result as just something to help them learn how to live more sustainably, not a personal failure.

2. Providing immediate tips for decreasing the footprint is a good way to quickly turn despair into inspiration and action.

3 comments:

  1. Much like in commerce, conservationists should be looking at areas that lack focus and good behaviours as opportunities. I mean heck nobody needs a a huggable hanger but Joy Mangano did and people bought it. She saw an opportunity. We need too as well.

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