Posts Tagged ‘behaviour change’
Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on April 10th, 2013
Sustainable Cities Net’s mothership, the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) has become a Green Apes Jungle Guardian (!!!) and so we’re doing a shout-out to our networks to let you know that the Green Apes app is now available online.
What’s a Green Ape and why would you want the app?
From the website:
Build & share your green profile and kick some jungle butt!
- get points for everyday sustainable actions
- track your progress
- compete and collaborate with friends
- find answers, inspire and be inspired
Book your tree in the jungle! join the ultimate sustainable community
We (VEIL) are pretty interested in behaviour change tools that are appealing, fun, or just not mind-numbingly terrifying. A quick look at the YouTube video and the website indicates that this app might be quite fun to use, although it’s pretty new (version 1.1) and may have a few issues. It also requires a facebook log-in. What will be really interesting is what happens if/when it reaches a large audience of users and glitches get ironed out. Unexpected (and hopefully awesome) results should follow.
Source: Forum for the Future (UK)
Image: Forum for the Future / Which?
From Crowd House Mortgages: how our financial world might be different in 2030 by Simon Howard:
“The financial world of 2030 as seen in the Consumers in 2030 report we produced with Which? magazine is radically different from that of today with the emphasis on shared endeavour and a disintermediation of large financial institutions. The Crowd House Mortgage idea couldn’t be more removed from the model of today. The capital lent is sourced from people who know the borrowers – possibly only in a virtual sense – and the lending decision is taken not by computer but by those lenders. “Computer can’t say no, co-worker can say yes.”
Could it happen? Quite possibly. The economic environment may not get better and banks may continue to be unpopular. That’s the “production” side of the current version under pressure. The demand side may be more subtle, coming down to what young people prefer out of the options outlined in the report: multi-generational living, expensive renting or buying with peers in a rolling re-run of student days. Put like that, seeing appreciable demand for co-own mortgages isn’t impossible is it?
The research makes it clear new ideas are needed and not just in housing. One we are looking at in the Forum is an alternative pension, the sustainable lifetime pension. The idea is simple: instead of investing in financial assets located quite possibly thousands of miles from your home, you invest locally in things that will secure a better quality of retirement: How can you help make old people feel more secure? Invest local pension contributions into the local economy so that people are employed closer to home and can feel more protective of the area where they work. How can you protect the elderly from rising energy prices? Allow them to direct pension savings into local renewable energy schemes whilst they are working in return for capped energy fees in retirement.
You can see the idea: local money into local assets with a return which isn’t entirely financial. That idea and the crowd source mortgage are some way away now. But both are valid ideas for focusing thinking debate as we look at an unclear future.”
Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 6th, 2013
From the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN):
This study is “based on a very small set of interviews – 16 people who self-identified as deliberately trying to live a lower-carbon lifestyle because of concern about climate change – and so its findings don’t necessarily apply to other people living in lower carbon ways. However, what is interesting about it is that it shows that people’s motivations for living in less carbon intensive ways are not primarily environmental. A concern for social justice is often much more important, as well is a desire for a more equal society” FCRN mailing: 5 March 2013.
This exploratory mixed-methods study uses in-depth interviews to investigate the values, motivations, and routes to engagement of UK citizens who have adopted lower-carbon lifestyles. Social justice, community, frugality, and personal integrity were common themes that emerged from the transcripts. Concern about ‘the environment’ per se is not the primary motivation for most interviewees’ action. Typically, they are more concerned about the plight of poorer people who will suffer from climate change. Although biospheric values are important to the participants, they tended to score altruistic values significantly higher on a survey instrument. Thus, it may not be necessary to promote biospheric values to encourage lower-carbon lifestyles. Participants’ narratives of how they became engaged with climate action reveal links to human rights issues and groups as much as environmental organisations and positive experiences in nature. Some interviewees offered very broad (positive) visions of what ‘a low-carbon lifestyle’ means to them. This, and the fact that ‘climate change’ is not necessarily seen as interesting even by these highly engaged people, reveals a need for climate change mitigation campaigns to promote a holistic view of a lower-carbon future, rather than simply offering a ‘to do’ list to ‘combat climate change’.
Howell, R.A. (2012). It’s not (just) ‘‘the environment, stupid!’’ Values, motivations, and routes to engagement of people adopting lower-carbon lifestyles.
Global Environmental Change, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.10.015
>> Download the paper
Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on January 14th, 2013
Source: Urban Milwaukee, via Tim Beatley
Photo by Alec Brooks from Urban Milwaukee website.
From ‘Rise of the Urban Ecology Center‘ by Peggy Shulz
How a small non-profit in a trailer in Riverside Park rose to become a major player with centers erected in three county parks. “Save the park.” That was the single, not-so-simple goal of a very loosely organized group of concerned residents of Riverside Park in the early 1990s. Little did they know that two decades later, a trio of nationally recognized ecology education centers would grow out of their efforts. Today, school children in three distinct neighborhoods — Riverside Park, Washington Park and Menomonee Valley — boast an Urban Ecology Center where children learn about ecology and their environment through a wide range of programs and activities, including “outdoor laboratories,” a full year of trips for students at nearby schools, after-school programs and preschool programs. [...]
The site of the original UEC, Riverside Park, was designed in 1865 by Frederick Law Olmsted as the western anchor of Newberry Boulevard, with Lake Park serving as the eastern anchor. In the years since the park was created, it had fallen into disrepair. With the intent of building an MPS middle school, a square block and a half of homes to the south of the original Riverside Park were torn down, beginning in the late 1960s. That land then stood mostly vacant for decades, with the exception of occasional garden plots. Even before all the homes were demolished, though, MPS changed its plans. By 1991, the entire expanse had become crime-ridden, including the area between what was by then a bike trail (but had earlier been railroad tracks) and the Milwaukee River. It was filled with trash and invasive plant species.
It was time to reclaim the park, but the concerned neighbors weren’t at all sure how they were going to do it. After a lot of thought, they decided to begin by cleaning it up, with the ultimate goal of using the park to teach neighborhood children about ecology and being friends of the earth. Litter and crime would be replaced with learning. A doublewide trailer was placed just north of Park Place and east of the bike trail. [...] It wasn’t until 2004 that the award-winning Riverside Park location of the Urban Ecology center opened. [...] The center now manages the county-owned portion of the parkland with volunteers. A capital campaign followed shortly thereafter, based on the long list of schools that already had asked to have their students participate in UEC activities. The early goal of saving Riverside Park was realized. “We essentially turned a problem into an asset,” [executive director Ken] Leinbach said. “The land was healed with volunteers, and kids were learning about their environment.”
Just as the Riverside Park location grew out of a desire to save the park, the Washington Park and Menomonee Valley sites were “natural” areas in the city that needed restoration. According to Leinbach, in planning all three locations UEC took certain factors into account: a nearby body of water, woods and fields; proximity to schools; and some measure of wealth in the surrounding neighborhood. “We knew we needed the neighbors’ help to sustain our program economically,” Leinbach explained. The mission of all three UEC sites can be boiled down to “intentionally/institutionally getting kids connected to nature with adult mentors,” Leinbach said. The founders never intended the center to be a model for anyone else. “I think you do something and it can become a model, if it works,” Leinbach said. “You don’t set out to create a model.” But it has turned into one, even internationally. [...]
Dennis Grzezinski, a UEC board member, describes three aspects of the center that have contributed to its success: environmental education, a community center and a nature center. The variety of programming is based on just a few primary concepts, Grzezinski said. “Proximity of the students to the center promotes deeper relationships between the students and the educators as mentors or models,” he said. Schools that participate must be within a 2-1/2 mile radius. That makes it easier for the students to return to the center over and over and establish a connection to a natural place that has different seasons, where they can plant bushes and trees and watch them grow over time. [...] “This organization … comes from humble, common-sense, low-budget origins,” Grzezinski said. “We do things on a shoestring budget. Environmentalism is about using resources carefully and not wasting them.”
When Leinbach was studying environmental education in graduate school, he recalls thinking that the world is a fragile place and we humans weren’t helping. Through the Urban Ecology center’s three locations, many humans are helping —reclaiming, rebuilding and maintaining fragile, natural places for the long term, and creating a stronger sense of community in the process.
>>> You can read the full article on Urban Milwaukee.
>>> You can learn more about the Urban Ecology Centers on their website.
Posted in Tools by Jessica Bird on May 25th, 2012
The UK based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has recently launched an online marketing toolkit that is designed to help partners promote their commitment to sustainable seafood and increase sales of MSC certified products. The toolkit includes ‘shopper touchpoints’ or phrases in a number of different languages and a series of images that can be adapted to suit the needs of each campaign.
From “MSC introduces web-based marketing toolkit” by the Marine Stewardship Council.
The online platform offers MSC partners a ‘turnkey’ solution to engage with consumers on seafood sustainability issues at the point of sale. As consumer demand for certified sustainable seafood continues to grow, the web-based toolkit is designed to allow more MSC partners to take part in marketing activities that help drive shoppers’ preference for MSC labelled products, enhance partners’ sustainability credentials and reward fisheries that have demonstrated they are operating sustainably. [...]
“This online toolkit builds on the lessons that we have learnt and provides a wealth of inspirational ideas and materials that are available to all partners to download and which have been shown to connect with shoppers very effectively.” said Simon Edwards, Global Marketing and Communications Director, Marine Stewardship Council. [...]
Providing a flexible marketing solution has been a feature of MSC’s marketing support and partners with a valid Ecolabel Licence Agreement are free to adapt these ideas to fit their own retail template to promote their MSC labelled range. This new platform complements other MSC tools and activities that promote partners’ commitment to sustainability such as joint marketing campaigns, sustainable seafood product finder, and a new seafood app.
Read the full article here.
You can explore the marketing toolkit here.
Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 7th, 2012
© Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto, Jameson Skaife
FEED TORONTO: GROWING THE HYDROFIELDS is a prize-winning design proposal by students in the Masters of Architecture and Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, Canada.
- 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence
- Finalist, ONE PRIZE Mowing to Growing Competition, 2010
Designers: Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto and Jameson Skaife
“The hydro corridors of Toronto are sprawling lengths of continuous, mostly vacant land. They are unusual terrain: both physically sparse but culturally intense. Stippled with electrical towers, planted in acres of mowed grass, they hold the promise of light, energy, and power. They have immense cultural equity, but with an underwhelming physical existence. Rather than pursuing the transformation of a complex network of privatized lawn landscape to create productive greenspace, this project takes on the proposition of finding the greatest and most immediate place for urban agriculture by using public lands. Growing hydro corridors can be done across North America, as they are a staple of most cities. If made into a standard this practice would not only circumvent the need for the buy-in of countless individual land owners, it would also also align the ground of the site with its significance as a place of energy production—this time through food. FeedToronto is proposed as a force of fiscal, ecological and social productivity. It re-imagines over 6,000 acres of mowed lawn as an abundant urban green that generates affordable, nutritious, local food.” From the submission
Read about the project and see more images on the Adams-Masoud site:
Photo via Studio Osk
You are invited to a film / discussion evening in Sydney on 30 March, hosted by the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.
We’ll be showing two short films. One is called Growing Change, and is about food sovereignty movements in Venezuela. For more info see: http://www.simoncunich.com.au/
The second is Food Fight and tells the story of workers in small-town Victoria trying to collectivise their closed-down tomato factory. For more info see Friends of Goulburn Valley Food Hub on facebook or check out the proposed Food Hub design by Studio Osk.
It’s going to be a great night. After the films we’ll have a group discussion with a few people there to answer questions including the makers of the films and some other folks involved in food sovereignty campaigns in Sydney and elsewhere.
A facebook event has been created: https://www.facebook.com/events/259945067424956/. Please RSVP to the event at this email growingchangesydney
March 30, 6:30pm
AMWU office, 136 Chalmers Street (near Central), Sydney
Entry: By donation; some food will be available
Source: Stockholm Resilience Centre
Photo: Swiv via flickr CC
From “Sticking to their trade: Why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches” by Sturle Hauge Simonsen:
A new report, recently published by PLoS ONE, challenges previously held notions about poverty and adaptation by investigating why fishermen in developing countries stick with their trade.
“We found that half of fishermen questioned would not be tempted to seek out a new livelihood — even if their catch declined by 50 per cent. But the reasons they cling on to their jobs are influenced by much more than simple profitability,” says lead author and centre researcher Tim Daw.
Fisheries are challenged by the combined effects of overfishing, climate change, deteriorating ecosystems and conservation policies. Understanding how fishermen respond to these changes is critical to managing fisheries. The research project is the largest of its kind and was undertaken as a joint project with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia.
Researchers surveyed almost 600 fishers across Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar about how they would respond to hypothetical catch declines. They then investigated how social and economic conditions, such as local culture and socioeconomic development, influenced whether fishermen were willing to give up their trade.
“Surprisingly, fishermen in the more vibrant and developed economies were less likely to give up their trade — despite having more economically fruitful opportunities open to them,” says co-author Dr Joshua Cinner from the ARC Centre of Excellence for coral reef Studies in Australia.
“One of the unexpected findings was that fishermen in a poor country like Madagascar would leave the fishery sooner than those in wealthier countries such as Seychelles. The reason seems to be that they already have diversified livelihoods, while fishermen in wealthier countries may be locked into this occupation,” says Tim McClanahan from the Wildlife Conservation Society. “This is contrary to many arguments about the impacts of management and climate change on poor people, so will surprise many people working in this field and on resource and disaster management policies”.
The findings add to a growing raft of literature which identifies multiple interlocking and dynamic factors which affect people’s capacity to deal with environmental change. It is hoped they will help identify points of intervention for conservation policies that aim to reduce fishing effort. They could also help communities become more adaptive to change.
“It also highlights the importance of understanding resource-based livelihoods, such as fishing and farming, in the context of the wider economy and society,” Tim Daw concludes.
Read the full article by Sturle Hauge Simonsen for the Stockholm Resilience Centre or go to the report.
Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on February 28th, 2012
Carpooling and ridesharing are about sharing your travel. By filling spare seats in your car you can save money, reduce your carbon emissions, meet people and have fun. There are plenty of reasons to carpool. Australian based start-up Jayride helps you get from A to B, suggest carpooling and ridesharing opportunities, as well as buses, shuttles, and other options if there are no carpools operating where you need.
From “Meet Jayride, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Winner [Social Capitalist Category]“ by Anthill Magazine:
Looking for a lift from here to there? Jayride wants to be your thumb.
Since 2008, the business founded by businessman/ride-sharing advocate Rod Bishop and web developer Ross Lin has been one of Australia’s leading sources of carpooling… wait for it… evangelism.
Jayride, one of the Anthill’s Smart 100 earlier [last year], uses a slick website structure to link auto drivers and riders. But if the business’ service stopped there, it would be nifty and little more. What makes Jayride cool is how it pushes its brand and how it has plugged in a revenue model designed to keep the company motoring along and driving toward its ambitious goal of extending beyond Australia. As Bishop puts it: “Traditional carpool marketing sucks. A traditional slogan such as ‘it’s cool to pool’ means nothing, and it’s certainly not cool. “By contrast, Jayride teams up with music festivals, solving transport problems and piggybacking Jayride onto the festival’s branding. Jayride touts itself as the ‘ultimate warm-up act,’ letting guests ‘meet fun randoms’ and ‘have great roadtrips with likeminded music lovers.’”
3,000 cars carpooled to Splendour In the Grass festival, with 500 people using Jayride. Jayride targets students, and helps tourists see sights in ways that are greener and more fun. Jayride, which to date has about 7,000 members who have shared 80,000 rides.
Jayride notes that consistent carpoolers save 1.38 tonnes of carbon emissions a year — a save about $2,400 over the same period. By helping Australians fill empty seats in cars, buses, trains and ferries, Jayride takes a bite out of gridlock and the nation’s fuel dependency. Jayride’s founders actually didn’t devote themselves full-time to the business until the middle of this year, when they put the revenue model in place. Now they’re ready for the long haul. “The coolest thing about Jayride,” says Bishop, “is that it has found its niche problem and designed a niche solution that has the ability to deliver real, effective change in people’s lives.”
Jayride recently received $400,000 in seed funding to continue expanding their service and coverage.
Check out jayride.com for more details.
Source: Low-Tech Magazine
Image from Kris de Decker
From “How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow” by Kris de Decker:
For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This is especially true in the East, where it became a universal means of transportation for both passengers and goods, even over long distances.
The Chinese wheelbarrow – which was driven by human labour, beasts of burden and wind power – was of a different design than its European counterpart. By placing a large wheel in the middle of the vehicle instead of a smaller wheel in front, one could easily carry three to six times as much weight than if using a European wheelbarrow.
The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons and wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a much more easily maintainable network of narrow paths designed for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar problems at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the option of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand years.
Transport options over land
Before the arrival of the steam engine, people have always preferred to move cargo over water instead of over land, because it takes much less effort to do so. But whenever this was not possible, there remained essentially three options for transporting goods: carrying them (using aids like a yoke, or none at all), tying them to pack animals (donkeys, mules, horses, camels, goats), or loading them onto a wheeled cart or wagon (which could be pulled by humans or animals).
Carrying stuff was the easiest way to go; there was no need to build roads or vehicles, nor to feed animals. But humans can carry no more than 25 to 40 kg over long distances, which made this a labour-intensive method if many goods had to be transported. Pack animals can take about 50 to 150 kg, but they have to be fed, are slightly more demanding than people in terms of terrain, and they can be stubborn. Pack animals also require one or more people to guide them.
When carrying goods – whether by person or by pack animals – the load is not only moved in the desired direction but it also undergoes an up and down movement with every step. This is a significant waste of energy, especially when transporting heavy goods over long distances. Dragging stuff does not have this drawback, but in that case you have friction to fight. Pulling a wheeled vehicle is therefore the most energy-efficient choice, because the cargo only undergoes a horizontal motion and friction is largely overcome by the wheels. Wheeled carts and wagons, whether powered by animals or people, can take more weight for the same energy input, but this advantage comes at a price; you need to build fairly smooth and level roads, and you need to build a vehicle. If the vehicle is drawn by an animal, the animal needs to be fed.
When all these factors are taken into consideration, the wheelbarrow could be considered the most efficient transport option over land, prior to the Industrial Revolution. It could take a load similar to that of a pack animal, yet it was powered by human labour and not prone to disobedience.
Compared to a two-wheeled cart or a four-wheeled wagon, a wheelbarrow was much cheaper to build because wheel construction was a labour-intensive job. Although the wheelbarrow required a road, a very narrow path (about as wide as the wheel) sufficed, and it could be bumpy. The two handles gave an intimacy of control that made the wheelbarrow very manoeuvrable.
When the wheelbarrow finally caught on in Europe, it was used for short distance cargo transport only, notably in construction, mining and agriculture. It was not a road vehicle. In the East, however, the wheelbarrow was also applied to medium and long distance travel, carrying both cargo and passengers. This use – which had no Western counterpart – was only possible because of a difference in the design of the Chinese vehicle. The Western wheelbarrow was very ill-adapted to carry heavy weights over longer distances, whereas the Chinese design excelled at it.
On the European wheelbarrow the wheel was (and is) invariably placed at the furthest forward end of the barrow, so that the weight of the burden is equally distributed between the wheel and the man pushing it. In fact, the wheel substitutes for the front man of the handbarrow or stretcher, the carrying tool that was replaced by the wheelbarrow.
Superior Chinese design
In the characteristic Chinese design a much larger wheel was (and is) placed in the middle of the wheelbarrow, so that it takes the full weight of the burden with the human operator only guiding the vehicle. In fact, in this design the wheel substitutes for a pack animal. In other words, when the load is 100 kg, the operator of a European wheelbarrow carries a load of 50 kg while the operator of a Chinese wheelbarrow carries nothing. He (or she) only has to push or pull, and steer.
The decay of the Chinese road infrastructure
The importance of the Chinese wheelbarrow can only be understood in the context of the Chinese transportation network. Prior to the third century AD, China had an extensive and well-maintained road network suited for animal powered carts and wagons. It was only surpassed in length by the Ancient Roman road network. The Chinese road infrastructure attained a total length of about 25,000 miles (40,000 km), compared to almost 50,000 miles (80,000 km) for the Roman system.
The Chinese and Roman road systems were built (independently) over the course of five centuries during the same period in history. Curiously, due to (unrelated) political reasons, both systems also started to disintegrate side by side from the third century AD onwards, and herein lies the explanation for the success of the Chinese wheelbarrow. As we have seen, the one-wheeled vehicle appeared during this period, and this is no coincidence. Increasingly, it was the only vehicle that could be operated on the deteriorating road network.
Lessons for the future
Of course, it was not only the wheelbarrow that kept Chinese communication running after the second century AD. At least as important was the impressive network of artificial canals that complemented it. This infrastructure became ever more important after the detoriation of the road network. For example, the Grand Canal, which ran from Hangzhou to Bejing over a distance of 1800 km, was completed in 1327 after 700 years of digging.
In Europe, the first (relatively modest) canals were only built during the 16th century, and most of them only appeared in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Chinese wheelbarrow alone could not have given Europe an equally effective transport infrastructure as the Chinese, but there is no doubt that it could have made life in medieval Europe a great deal easier.
The story of the Chinese wheelbarrow also teaches us an obvious lesson for the future. While many of us today are not even prepared to change their limousine for a small car, let alone their automobile for a bicycle, we forget that neither one of these vehicles can function without suited roads. Building and maintaining roads is very hard work, and history shows that it is far from evident to keep up with it.
In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that we won’t be as lucky as the medieval Europeans who inherited one of the best and most durable road networks in the world. Our road infrastructure – mostly based on asphalt – is more similar to that of the Ancient Chinese and will disintegrate at a much faster rate if we lose our ability to maintain it. The Chinese wheelbarrow – and with it many other forgotten low-tech transportation options – might one day come in very handy again.
Read the full article (there’s a lot more, with pictures too) by Kris de Decker on Low-Tech Magazine.