Creating A Culture Of Hope--Not Fear--Around Sustainability

Creating A Culture Of Hope--Not Fear--Around Sustainability

With personal actions, people can make small but meaningful contributions to improving the planet. We should focus on this instead of on our impending doom.
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 6:00am

CONTENT: Article

By Javier Flaim, CEO Recyclebank 

Many sustainability experts have grappled and struggled with understanding what truly motivates behavior change, trying to design better systems and tools to achieve real world impact. At our core, we all ultimately want to leave the planet a better place for future generations; to live in a world of purpose and ultimately live a life of impact.

We read articles about how a one degree change in temperature has the ability to redo the global map as we know it, putting any coastal community at risk to disappear. We understand these truths and want to make a difference, but more often than not the inertia of life takes over and it’s back to business as usual. How do we break the cycle and motivate ourselves--if not millions--to take action? What works better: do we continue to use doom and gloom to prompt change, or, as an alternative, do we educate and motivate citizens of the world about the greener, but more importantly smarter, choices that can actually benefit and enhance our lives, and the world around them today?

Obviously, fear evokes a strong emotional response, but it may not be effective in the sustainability and environmental industry. As Talking Climate has pointed out, fear-mongering only truly affects behavior when there is a deep, personal connection with the issue. Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s graphic anti-smoking commercials featuring gruesome clips of people with maladies from the side effects of smoking are certainly haunting, other approaches that involve a more creative, thought provoking trigger may be more effective.

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CATEGORY: Education