3.1 Influencing behaviour change
How can we successfully change behaviour around sustainable living in our risk-averse culture? How do we encourage understanding of the benefits of natural resources amid individuals’ fears of cost and inconvenience? We need to break through barriers and silos preventing corporate, public sector and community-led initiatives. People, especially children, need to be more engaged with what local nature can offer.
Why it matters
In Europe we consume 30% more natural resources than the Earth can replenish. A study finds that while 95% of people have awareness of ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’, there’s a significant gap where this knowledge does not translate into action. A quarter of people feel that ‘climate change’ is a remote concern and see the environment as low priority compared with other issues in their life (Centre for Expertise on Influencing Behaviours, 2011).
People’s behaviour is strongly attached to knowledge of facilities and services, time and convenience, as well as certain social stigmas such as buying second-hand goods. Safety issues such as traffic and ‘stranger danger’ are discouraging recreation outdoors. (Centre for Expertise on Influencing Behaviours, 2011).
- Centre for Expertise on Influencing Behaviours (2011) The Sustainable Lifestyles Framework, DEFRA [Online]. Available on The National Archives website (PDF) [18 August 2017].