While many community climate change campaigns target individual behaviours, new approaches are focusing on altering the underlying social practices at a number of levels.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Tread Softly. While many community climate change campaigns target individual behavior, new approaches are focusing on altering the underlying social practices at a number of levels.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Ralph Horne, Director, Centre for Design, RMIT University.
RALPH HORNE SPEAKS: The Carbon Neutral Communities Project involves us in doing carbon footprinting at, sort of local authority area also looking at renewable resource assessments, so how many renewables in terms of photovoltaics or wind you could generate within the local authority area and then also looking at the behavioural side, if you like, the sort of energy using side of communities.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Susie Maloney, Research Fellow, Centre for Design, RMIT University.
SUSIE MALONEY SPEAKS: In looking at the social dimensions of change we were particularly interested in approaches to changing behaviour.
VISUAL: Earth Hour 2011 launch commercial. Animation made with post-notes.
SUSIE MALONEY SPEAKS: We developed a database of over 100 behaviour change programs, particularly interested in targeting energy use in the home.
VISUAL: Environment Victoria “Are you in?” 2010 web campaign screenshots of people holding signs.
SUSIE MALONEY SPEAKS: We assessed a range of approaches that a lot of these programs are doing and we found that there hasn't been very much research at all around behaviour change programs and their effectiveness.
VISUAL: Victoria State Government. “Black Balloons” 2007 energy saving campaign. Black balloons coming out of AC unit.
SUSIE MALONEY SPEAKS: So we were interested in how people are actually going about working with individuals and communities to try and effect change.
RALPH HORNE SPEAKS: Our review of behaviour change programs across Australia really showed us that these programs are generally focused around individual behaviour and while that explains part of our current energy consumption patterns it doesn't get the whole picture.
SUSIE MALONEY SPEAKS: A lot of the actions that are targeted are around turning off light switches, switching off lights at the wall, washing in cold water, switching taps off while brushing teeth, having a four minute shower.
VISUAL: Images of people doing what Susie Maloney mentioned.
SUSIE MALONEY SPEAKS: These were all very common actions that were identified across a wide range of behaviour change programs. And what we found is that while quite a number of people might take up these actions, the impact of those kinds of changes are relatively marginal when we consider the types of social, or systemic changes that we're really needing to effect if we're talking about significant change in the future.
RALPH HORNE SPEAKS: So for example in the case of showering behaviour, an individual behaviour change program might focus on the length of shower that an individual person is going to have and so on and so forth wheras a social change program might take broader account of standards of cleanliness and... to expectations of showering more broadly across the community.
RALPH HORNE SPEAKS: And that requires a different way of seeing how that showering behaviour is constituted.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Judy Bush, Coordinator, North Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA).
JUDY BUSH SPEAKS: The Carbon Neutral Communities was a fantastic research project that we undertook with RMIT...
VISUAL: Zoom in into Victoria area map with text “Northern Alliance For Greenhouse Action (NAGA) Members.
JUDY BUSH SPEAKS: ...there was a lot of focus on the best methods for community engagement and how community engagement projects are currently being run and what methodologies we could apply to really increase and expand the effectiveness of them,
VISUAL: Australian Federal Goverment “Water for the Future” 2011 campaign TV commercial shows kis washing a dog in backyard. People saving water and landscape aerial shots.
JUDY BUSH SPEAKS: so looking at community engagement and the capacity of local government and others to actually implement climate change programs.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Alan Pears, Sustainability Researcher and Adjunct Professor, RMIT University.
ALAN PEARS SPEAKS: I think what's exciting about carbon neutral communities is that they've recognised the complexity of the situation when you're trying to achieve sustainability.
ALAN PEARS SPEAKS: It's not just about information for individuals to make them change, it's not just about technology and getting the technical people doing the right things, it's looking at the context, the infrastructure, the culture, the common practices and all of those elements have to be managed so that you can motivate people and empower them to achieve outcomes.
JUDY BUSH SPEAKS: Some of that work identified that it would be much more effective to engage with communities on a, sort of, a society ... more of a group basis than focusing on individual behaviour change programs and this finding has been really useful for the design of other projects that we're now thinking about running.
RALPH HORNE SPEAKS: We can already see local governments taking on board the outcomes of the research and incorporating them into their plans for carbon neutral communities in the future and we're very much hopeful that that process will continue. We're very keen as applied researchers to see our research taken up by industry and also by government in policy making.
ALAN PEARS SPEAKS: The outcome of it has been a model that means you can go into an organisation and look at the cultures, look at the barriers and look at the ways the organisation can capture the opportunities that come with a drive towards sustainability and I think that that model can be applied very well in business.
[End of Transcript]
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