9 Feb 2006
Motivating Sustainable Consumption Report
I have been reading this document recently and it is wonderful, so I thought I would recommend it. Motivating Sustainable Consumption is a report produced by Professor Tim Jackson for the Sustainable Development Research Network. It explores the latest thinking and research relating to what it is that affects peoples behaviour in relation to environmental issues. How can policies and processes best influence people in changing their lifestyles? I have been reading it as part of my research exploring how to design a process of energy descent action planning in such a way that it is most effective at engaging communties in its process.
It criticises the conventional thinking that all you have to do is provide people with information and they will react by changing their behaviour. The reality is far more complex, and this book gives lots of insights that you will find useful in designing ways of making your work as effective as possible. The concluding paragraphs sum up the insights in the document;
>”It is clear from this that behaviour change initiatives are going to encounter considerable resistance unless and until it is possible to substitute for these important functions of society (the degree of ‘meaning’ that consumer goods represent in peoples lives) in some other ways. Inthis context, motivating sustainable consumption has to be as much about building supportive communities, promoting inclusive societies, providing meaningful work, and encouraging purposeful lives as it is about awareness raising, fiscal policy and persuastion.
>This is not to suggest that Government should be faint-hearted in encouraging and supporitng pro-environmental behaviour. On the contrary, a robust effort is clearly needed ; and the evidence reviewed in this study offers a far more creative vista for policy innovation than has hitherto been recognised”.