Imaginative Approaches to Combating Climate Change Locally
Edited by Michael Peters, Shane Fudge and Tim Jackson
Chapter 3: The Social Dimensions of Behaviour Change: An Overview of Community-based Interventions to Encourage Pro-environmental Behaviours
3. The social dimensions of behaviour change: an overview of communitybased interventions to encourage pro-environmental behaviours Wokje Abrahamse INTRODUCTION Imagine you are walking down a parking lot and find a promotional leaflet underneath the windscreen wipers of your car. The parking lot is scattered with discarded leaflets. What are you likely to do with the leaflet? Would you walk to the nearest rubbish bin, or would you throw it away on the spot? Now imagine the parking lot is clean, and clear of leaflets. What are you likely to do in that case? Admittedly, the first situation, where leaflets are scattered around a parking lot, is sending out a message that it is ‘OK’ to litter, whereas the other situation is sending out quite a different message. How do people behave as a result of such social and normative influences? How can such processes be employed to promote behaviour change in a more environmentally friendly direction? When the consequences of our individual actions are visible to other people, normative or social influences are important factors to take into consideration. In fact, a large body of research exists in social and environmental psychology, exploring the relationships between social processes on the one hand and behaviour change on the other. If the aim is to encourage people to change their behaviour in a more environmentally friendly direction, be it on an individual or group/community level, it is necessary to examine these underlying factors. This chapter aims to provide an overview of the...
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