Shifting Attitudes and Behaviors
Question: How can we mobilize individuals and societies to shift attitudes & behaviors in order to address climate change?
Submit Proposals: https://www.climatecolab.org/contests/2017/shifting-attitudes-and-behavior
Deadline: Sunday, Sep 10, 2017 at 18:00:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Judging Criteria & Prizes: See below.
Climate change is a tangle of environmental, social, and economic issues. This complexity makes concerted collective action extremely difficult. The diverse attitudes, norms, values, and beliefs that underpin our unsustainable behavior make structuring a clear, unified message nearly impossible. There is a need for a more tailored approach that targets specific unsustainable practices and aims to change them. The aggregate of many small changes can trigger a broader societal transformation. This contest invites participants to contribute to this transformation by identifying and challenging unsustainable attitudes, norms, and values and proposing meaningful ways to alter them to encourage climate-friendly and people-friendly behavior.
Mobilizing people to shift behavior and take concerted and collective action to address climate change is a tremendous challenge. How do we inspire, motivate, empower, and activate people to change? How do we go beyond changing perspectives and enter the realm of changing behaviors?
There is strong agreement among scientists that changes in lifestyle and behavior patterns are necessary to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Our behavior-–underpinned by personal attitudes, beliefs, values, and social norms and practices–-is often deep-rooted and difficult to change. Targeting these underlying influences and encouraging constructive shifts will be a critical part of the societal response to climate change.
Considering the enormous complexity of the climate change phenomenon, it might be useful to follow the “divide and conquer” principle. Think about the best ways to encourage people to change their behavior, even in small ways; inspiring conversations, practices, art, and more can shift perceptions of climate change science, alter cultural norms regarding transportation and diet, or promote stronger values of sustainability. The situation presents a tremendous opportunity to craft messages that both inform and motivate, shifting attitudes, norms, and values to engender real action at a large scale.
Yet, people need to believe it's in their best interest to change, and the benefits must be clear, immediate, and personal. The most compelling reasons to change are those reasons that fit with a person or community’s values and world-view. Once motivated to change, people need resources, tools, and a pathway to change. To make options available to consumers and decision-makers we need innovation to make sustainable technologies available, and we need the policy and pricing structures to make them accessible. In order to motivate shifts in behavior we need clear targeted messaging that helps people understand that climate change impacts are local, personal, and immediate and that also empowers them to be part of the solution. In order to effect real change, we need to mobilize people to adopt more environmentally sustainable practices and behaviors, to engage in political activism and policy discussions, and to transform policy and economic conditions.
In this contest, we invite you to propose ideas for how to trigger a broad societal transformation by motivating and empowering individuals to shift their own behavior as consumers, voters, and integral members of society.
Judges will be asked to evaluate proposals on the following criteria:
Feasibility of the actions proposed in the proposal. Judges with different kinds of expertise will evaluate the technical, economic, social, and political feasibility of the proposals.
Novelty of the proposal's ideas. Innovative thinking and originality in a proposal will be valued more than encyclopedic knowledge. In addition, instead of selecting a roster of Finalists that are very similar, judges will try to select a group of proposals that represent a diverse range of approaches.
Impact on climate change (for example, for mitigation actions, the amount of greenhouse gas emission reductions or for adaptation actions, the extent to which the actions counteract the effects of climate change) and desirability of other impacts (e.g. economic, social, lifestyle)
Presentation quality. Proposals that are well-presented will be favored over those that aren't. Presentation quality includes how well written a proposal is, how well it uses graphics or other visual elements, and how compelling are its artistic representations of possible future worlds (if any).
Winning proposals will be especially strong in at least one of the first three dimensions, and also well presented.
Judges will evaluate proposals, and deliberate as a group to select the Semi-Finalists, Finalists, Winners, and possibly other awardee(s) at their discretion. Judgments of desirability are also made in the final stage of the contest, by the Climate CoLab community through popular vote, and by the Judges through their selection of the Judges' Choice winner(s).
Top proposals in each contest will be awarded...
Judges’ Choice Award -- Two proposals* will be selected by the Judges to receive the Judges' Choice-- one project, and one practice.
Popular Choice Award – Received the most votes during the public voting period.
The Judges’ Choice Award and Popular Choice Award Winners will be invited to MIT (see prior Climate CoLab Conferences), join the Climate CoLab winners’ alumni, and be eligible for the $10,000 Grand Prize—to be selected from among the winners across contests.
All award Winners and Finalists will receive wide recognition and platform visibility from MIT Climate CoLab. Climate CoLab or its collaborators may offer additional awards or recognition at their discretion.
* Judges’ Choice Award(s) are allocated at the Judging panel’s discretion. In rare cases, the Judges may choose not to select awardees.
Resources for Proposal Authors
- Benson, E. (2008). Society’s Grand Challenges: Global Climate Change. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from www.apa.org/research/action/gc-climate-change.pdf.
- Bergoglio, J. (2015). Encyclical Letter Laudato si' of the Holy Father Francis on care for our common home. Retrieved from http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.
- Corner, A. & Clarke, J. (2017). Communicating Climate Change Adaptation: A Practical Guide to Values-Based Communication. Climate Outreach and Information Network. Retrieved from http://climateoutreach.org/resources/communicating-climate-change-adaptation-a-practical-guide-to-values-based-communication/.
- Frank, K.A. (2014). Movement of Climate Change Knowledge through Social Networks. Great Lakes Climate, Ohio University. Retrieved from http://climategreatlakes.com/2014-01-16/.
- Hassol, S. J. (2015). ClimateTalk: Science and Solutions. TedXUMontana. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-tEmE85QDE.
- Heberlein, T. (2012). Navigating Environmental Attitudes. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Hoffman, A. (2012). Climate Science as Culture War. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/climate_science_as_culture_war.
- McKibben, B. (2014). A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/a-call-to-arms-an-invitation-to-demand-action-on-climate-change-20140521.
- Mooney, C. (2015). Forget “bans” on talking about climate. These Florida Republicans are too busy protecting their coasts. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/03/31/the-unlikely-group-of-republicans-who-are-preparing-florida-for-climate-change/?utm_term=.c49a59f39618.
- Moser, S. (2009). Communicating climate change: history, challenges, process and future directions. WIREs Climate Change, 1(1), 33-53.
- Patchen, M. (2006). Public Attitudes and Behavior About Climate Change: What Shapes Them and How to Influence Them. Purdue Climate Change Research Center.
- Sethi, S. (n.d.). Our Green Brains. Arena Magazine. Retrieved from http://arena.org.au/our-green-brains/.
- Sethi, S. (2012). How and Why Do We Engage?. TedX Cibeles. Retrieved from tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxCibeles-Simran-Sethi-Why-an.
- Shome, D. & Marx, S. (2009). The Psychology of Climate Change Communication. Columbia University Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. Retrieved from http://guide.cred.columbia.edu/.
- Smith, Z. (2014). Elegy for a Country’s Seasons. New York: New York Review of Books.
- The Story of Stuff Project. (2017). The Story of Change - Change Maker Identities - Which one are you?. Retrieved from http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-change/.
- van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz, A. (2015). Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change: Five “Best Practice” Insights From Psychological Science. Retrieved from scholar.princeton.edu/slinden/publications/how-improve-public-engagement-climate-change-five-best-practice-insights.
- Yale University. (2017). Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Retrieved from http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/.
Global Opinions on Climate Change
- Council on Foreign Relations. (2009). World Opinion on the Environment. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/world-opinion-environment.
- Gallup. (2010). World's Top-Emitters No More Aware of Climate Change in 2010. Gallup. Retrieved from www.gallup.com/poll/149207/world-top-emitters-no-aware-climate-change-2010.aspx.
- Hedlund, N. (2013). The state of our world, the state of our worldview(s): The Integrative Worldview Framework as a tool for reflexive communicative action and transformation. University of Oslo. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/8245364/The_State_of_our_World_The_State_of_our_Worldview_s_The_Integrative_Worldview_Framework_as_a_Tool_for_Reflexive_Communicative_Action_and_Transformation.
- Pelham, B. W. (2009). Awareness, Opinions About Global Warming Vary Worldwide. Gallup. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/117772/awareness-opinions-global-warming-vary-worldwide.aspx.
On Public Attitudes toward Science
- Corner, A. (2013). The 'art' of climate change communication. The Guardian Sustainable Business Blog. Retrieved from www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/art-climate-change-communication.
- Mooney, C. (2011). The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science: How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism. Mother Jones. Retrieved from www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney.
- Otto, S.L. (2012). Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy, Scientific American. Retrieved from www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antiscience-beliefs-jeopardize-us-democracy.
U.S. Public Opinion on Climate Change
- Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., and Leiserowitz, A. (2016). Climate Opinion Maps. Yale Project on Climate Change Commmunication. Retrieved from http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2016/.
- Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., and Leiserowitz, A. (2015). Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA. Nature Climate Change. Retrieved from www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2583.html.
- Jones, J.M. (2014). In U.S., In U.S., Most Do Not See Global Warming as Serious Threat. Gallup. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/167879/not-global-warming-serious-threat.aspx
- Newport, F. (2012). Americans' Worries About Global Warming Up Slightly. Gallup. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/153653/americans-worries-global-warming-slightly.aspx.
- Pew Research. (2012). More Say There Is Solid Evidence of Global Warming. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/2012/10/15/more-say-there-is-solid-evidence-of-global-warming/.
- Pew Research. (2014). Climate Change: Key Data Points. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from www.pewresearch.org/key-data-points/.
Climate Change Worldviews
- Barranco, A. (2015). Champions of Change: People of Faith Acting on Climate. The White House. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2015/07/22/champions-change-people-faith-acting-climate.
- ConservAmerica. (2016). Retrieved from http://conservamerica.org/.
- Conservatives for Energy Freedom. (2015). Retrieved from http://energyfreedomusa.org/.
- Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.faithforclimate.org/.
- Interfaith Summit on Climate Change. (2014). Retrieved from interfaithclimate.org/.
- Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.yecaction.org/.