The Climate, Mind and Behavior Project convenes leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of climate change and environmental advocacy, neuro-, behavioral and evolutionary economics, psychology, policy-making, social networking investing and social media. During the program’s annual symposia and regional meetings CMB network participants work together to identify ways to shift human behavior so as to realize large-scale greenhouse gas emissions reductions. It brought experts from these fields together for the second annual CMB symposium on February 15-17, 2012.
Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez of the Garrison Institute suggests a framework for exploring the human dimensions of climate change and people-centered solutions as a means of generating insights and strategies and for increasing the effectiveness of our work.
Skip Laitner, of the American Concil for an Energy Efficient Economy, suggests that a sustainable future will be less likely without a large reduction in both energy costs and the full cost of energy services. This requires, in turn, hefty increases in productive investment and greater levels of resource conservation and energy efficiency – all enabled by a shift in our behaviors, our social institutions and our culture.
Samantha Neufeld of Arizona State University discusses findings from her team's research on the effectiveness of appeals that promote helping the environment in order to help one’s children. Their results suggest that kin appeals can be more effective than non-kin appeals.
Jennifer Hirsch of The Field Museum in Chicago shares the research-to-action process that her team has developed for involving communities in implementing city and regional strategies for climate action, in ways that simultaneously advance their local agendas for social change.
Juliet Schor of Boston College discusses the structural connections between hours of work and ecological impact, paying attention to both scale (size of economy) effects and composition (mix of products produced and consumed) effects.
James Hoggan, author of "Climate Cover-Up", shares some of the surprising insights and profound lessons from his conversations with spiritual leaders and social scientists on how we can get society back on track for the sake of our health and the health of the planet on which we depend.
Katie Mandes of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions draws lessons from the Make an Impact partnership between her organization and leading U.S. companies to share with other outreach and communications efforts related to climate change and energy.
John Petersen, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Oberlin College, considers the Oberlin Project's collaborative effort to develop and assess the impact of multiples scales and modes of feedback that include social, economic and ecological contextualization as mechanisms for enhancing impact.
Pat Aloise-Young of Colorado State University believes that stemming the flow of climate change will require behavioral change, but asks what kind? Aloise-Young compares the results of two one-semester social norms interventions in the residence halls at Colorado State University.
Cindy Frantz of Oberlin College explores the ways in which the natural world can fulfill this need and the implications this has for the societal transformation to sustainability that the Oberlin Project seeks to achieve.
Scott Brophy of Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Philosophy Department believes it’s clear that providing detailed refutations and tons of evidence does not work to persuade to abandon disinformation - less clear is why that is the case.
Dan Kahan of Yale University suggests that evidence from a large survey of U.S. adults reflects a conflict between two levels of rationality and he argues that dispelling the “tragedy of the risk-perception commons,” should be understood as the central aim of the science of science communication.
Conall Bolger of the Sustainability Learning Center in Scotland outlines the results of research into six community-led environmental projects in Scotland. The projects were found to provide an opportunity for communities to engage with climate change in a manner meaningful to the context of their daily lives.
Beth Savan of the University of Toronto suggests that enduring and meaningful behaviour changes are those that encourage persistence through time and proliferation across a number of lifestyle elements to magnify the impact of one-time interventions.
Cara Pike of the Social Capital Project discusses how The Research Innovation Group is addressing the gap between research, action and evaluation with Climate Access - a “network of networks” approach to tracking the latest research, best practices, and development of case studies.
Sadhu Johnson, the deputy Mayor for the City of Vancouver, says we are living in the "Century of the City." In his presentation Sadhu discusses the priority interests of Urban Sustainability Directors Network members and draws from his experiences and lessons learned in Chicago and Vancouver.
Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith discusses the organization’s work to not only inspire an ecological consciousness, but to further mobilize religious networks to create measurable behavior change in the arenas of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Dina Biscotti from the University of California at Davis investigates social movement organizations that emphasize moral and communal (non-price) rationales to save energy while also shifting the perception of global climate change from an insurmountable problem to one that is being addressed in cooperation with other community members.
Fred Taylor of Antioch University New England discusses his group’s project designed to identify the salient factors that made the Carbon Fast effective (or not effective) for participants in regard to lasting behavioral change.
Rick Diamond of the University of California believes that understanding myths can help policy makers question assumptions, they can inform research by giving us pointers on questions that need to be answered and they are often the mental models that are fundamental to our beliefs and guide our actions.
Rachel Shwom of Rutgers University finds that to date the “behavioral wedge” leaves out many household behaviors that are difficult to estimate and tends to focus exclusively on carbon dioxide while other greenhouse gases go unnoticed.
Bob Doppelt of The Resource Innovation Group shares information from his new book (April 2012): From Me to We: The Five Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet and explains what psychologists and sociologists know about the core principles of human change in an effort to alter the way others think and behave in ways that produce sustainable outcomes and address global climate disruption.
Marilyn Cornelius of Stanford University explores a methodology for discovering more viable options for reducing the most important energy end uses, such as space heating and cooling, water heating, lighting and plug loads, which are rated according to attributes like; impact, cost, pervasiveness and technological needs to quantify their impacts.
Kathy Kuntz, of Cool Choices, discusses using game mechanics to inspire environmentally sustainable actions by giving people points as they make changes in their real lives. Cool Choices leverages competition and community to make it fun and easy to save energy and water, to increase recycling and to choose environmentally sustainable foods.
Zannah Matson of the University of Toronto examines recent University of Toronto Sustainability Office behavior change programs and discusses strategies that appear to lead to varying outcomes in the persistence of resource and emission reduction behaviors.
Amanda Carrico of the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment discusses the utility of feedback and peer education interventions in terms of their overall potential for reducing energy use, as well as the feasibility of their being implemented in future organizational settings.
Rick Larrick of Duke University argues for adopting metrics in which energy consumption (e.g., "gallons per 10,000 miles”), rather than efficiency, is presented as a way to improve intuitive decisions by consumers. He proposes five research-based principles for designing better energy metrics to aid consumer and employee choices.
David Orr of Oberlin College outlines the overall goals of the Oberlin Project, describes early accomplishments and shares lessons learned. The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin to create a model of “full-spectrum sustainability” that integrates education, agriculture, renewable energy, economic revitalization, green building, policy and law, and community development.
Rebecca Ford of New Zealand's University of Otago introduces the Energy Cultures framework and focuses on the household surveys conducted by the Energy Culture’s team, which were used to identify clusters of ‘energy cultures’ to enable the crafting of targeted actions to the characteristics of each individual cluster.
Gernot Wagner of the Environmental Defense Fund looks at how far the standard economic model can go to avoid a head-on collision with the planet. Without overstretching his case here, he tries to use this presentation to serve as a reminder that in the end, it's scalability that counts. And there, it is important to always try to pull the highest policy lever possible.
George Marshall, the founder of the Climate Outreach Network, directs the organization's Language and Discourse Program. This ambitious program aims to "measurably change the ways we speak about climate change."
Susan Bodnar of Columbia University discusses the need for young adults to experience visceral evidence of their own relationship to their particular ecosystem whether it is urban, suburban or rural. There is little generational memory for a time when humans and their ecosystems were more overtly interdependent.
Sabine Marx of Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions provides insights from research on decision making under uncertainty – focusing on attentional and motivational barriers – and makes suggestions for how to improve our communication so people are more engaged, motivated, and empowered.
Beth Karlin of the University of California at Irvine discusses her research on energy behaviors. She suggests specific appeals that may be more effective in increasing curtailment behaviors, others that are more successful in targeting efficiency behaviors as well as interventions that could impact both behavior dimensions.
Elizabeth Malone of the Joint Global Change Research Institute says that government, business, and other institutional actors "configure the fabric and texture of daily life.” She argues that more attention should be given to the ways hard and soft structures have been developed that effectively steer the choices of individuals.
Louke van Wensveen, an independent ethicist, believes that virtue cultivation is an essential, but underrated aspect of sustainable living. She proposes that we pool our expertise to assemble a 'cultivation kit' for building up the 'virtue capital' that is needed for a sustainable global civilization.
Micah Loudermilk of National Defense University discusses the behavior-based campaign currently being constructed by NDU, which seeks to achieve results using two methods: 1) Encouraging personnel to develop habits that reduce energy consumption and 2) Empowering personnel to find additional creative ways to reduce energy use.
Marsha Walton of the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority discusses NYSERDA's study which tested whether people would be more likely to make decisions and take actions around climate change issues if they were given information about how they and their family, friends and neighbors, could be directly affected.
John Gowdy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that while there is little doubt that environmental services are often underpriced (if they are priced at all), the ability of economic markets to solve environmental problems is often more limited than they often appear to be at first glance.
Climate, Mind and Behavior Leadership Council:
Dina Biscotti, UC Davis
Uwe Brandes, Urban Land Institute
Marilyn Cornelius, Stanford University
Jeff Domanski, Princeton University
Becky Ford, University of Otago, New Zealand
Ruth Greenspan-Bell, Woodrow Wilson Intl Center for Scholars
Lauren Kubiak, Natural Resources Defense Council
Skip Laitner, ACEEE
Nils Moe, Urban Sustainability Directors Network
Phil Payne, Gingko Residential
Roger Platt, USGBC
Jonathan Rose, Garrison Institute Board Member
Kurth Roth, Fraunhofer Institute
Jonathan Rowson, RSA
Rachael Shwom, Rutgers University
Jennifer Tabanico, Action Research
Jason Twill, Vulcan Inc.