This campaign aims at rebranding and promoting pro-environmental behavior such as recycling as fashionable, hip and trendy. In short: Cool.
Change in attitudes and behavior constitute one of the first steps towards stemming the tide of climate change. In this regard it is imperative to empower young persons, by encouraging attitudes and behaviors favorable to the sustainability challenges of today and of the future. The “Green is the new Cool” campaign seeks to inspire and reinforce pro-environmental behavior among the young, by speaking in a language they understand.
This campaign seeks to render pro-environmental behavior mainstream among university students. It will promote simple acts such as recycling, saving food, cycling or turning off electric appliances to save energy as desirable, modern and pro-social. It is a project that will use efficient attitude-influencing messaging to prompt a change of perceptions and reinforce existing pro-environmental behavior among young people.
This outreach campaign aims at rebranding, framing and promoting pro-environmental behavior as fashionable, hip, chic and trendy. The rationale is to appeal to the collective self-esteem of the youth and young adults who generally want to be seen as modern, trendy or as “cool” in youth-speak. The campaign borrows from social conformity models in which the innate human need to belong causes members of society to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to group norms. Social networks will thus constitute an important basis in this campaign. In youth circles, “Cool” generally denotes something that is likeable and hip. This campaign will redefine and cast pro-environmental actions in this light and encourage young persons to adopt pro-environmental habits because these habits are “cool”. The fundamental message is that being “cool” does no longer mean owning the latest smart phone, tech gadget or the Nike trainers; instead, saving food, cycling, turning off lights or recycling plastic bags is the new cool. Hence the tagline “Green is the new Cool”.
What actions do you propose?
Campaign messages will be articulate, clever, and custom-made to target students. Delivery platforms will include both print, broadcast (multimedia) formats. Delivery channels will include:
- Mass communication channels (student newsletters, campus display screens, social media, posters and prompts such as printed T-shirts)
- Interpersonal channels (network of student organizations and the student union) These will act as multipliers of the message through social networks.
- Endorsement by university staff such as the Vice Chancellor.
- Partnering with and ensuring visibility of the concept in public events on campus
- An award for “coolest Hall of Residence” or “Coolest Department” will be created based on liters of water saved or least amount of energy used in these entities. It is expected that competition to win this award will encourage pro-environmental behavior by members of these entities.
- The communication program will be periodically evaluated for impacts on attitudes and behavior within target populations. This evaluation will employ tools such as focus-groups, surveys, opinion polls and web analytics. The quality of infomercials and exposure to these infomercials will also be evaluated.
- The results of these evaluations will be fed back into the campaign management process which will be adaptive; allowing for recalibration of strategy.
Who will take these actions?
Youth, young adults and adults at the university of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
Where will these actions be taken?
University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
- The campaign is expected entrench simple pro-environmental actions into mainstream youth worldviews and habits.
- The uniqueness of the “e-cool” concept derived from a play on “ecological” (E-cool-ogical) will, with proper culturally-relevant communication support develop into a major popular definition of environmentally-friendly or sustainable. This may open up scaling-up possibilities to include other schools in the Norwich municipality possibly to the whole country.
What are other key benefits?
Other outcomes may include product labeling or certification for businesses with eco-friendly products or operations. Such a scenario will reinforce attitudes and perpetuate the worldview embodied by the concept.
What are the proposal’s costs?
- The campaign will require technical and material support for the production of communication material, props and media content. A rough estimate puts total cost per year to about USD 5000
- No negative side effects foreseen at the moment
- The campaign is tentatively scheduled to be launched during the next academic year (2016-2017)
- After the launch, the rest of the campaign roll-out will continue engaging youth circles and other relevant civil society actors to inspire pro-green attitudes and behavior.
- Periodic special events will also be planned as resources allow with the ultimate goal of strengthening gains and cementing “e-cool” as the new in-thing.
- The campaign is projected to run on a yearly basis and hopefully can become self-sustaining after 3 years through generated sponsorship from local businesses.