Low Carbon Communities
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Low Carbon Communities

Imaginative Approaches to Combating Climate Change Locally

Edited by Michael Peters, Shane Fudge and Tim Jackson

Community action is a vital strategy in the fight against climate change and has increasingly informed government policy, academic inquiry and grassroots action since the start of this century. This timely and engaging volume explores both the promise of community-based action in tackling climate change and some of its limitations.
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Chapter 10: Global Action Plan’s EcoTeams Programme

Scott Davidson


Scott Davidson INTRODUCTION Global Action Plan’s (GAP’s) EcoTeams programme has been running in the UK for around 15 years. It is widely regarded as one of the most successful community based behaviour change programmes available in the UK (McKenzie-Mohr, 2009) and was recommended for expansion by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC, 2003). It was originally created in 1990 by a group of environmental scientists and organizational consultants who wanted to combine information, feedback and social groups as three effective behaviour change mechanisms (Geller et al., 1990). Evidence suggests that EcoTeams may create an accelerated path of pro-environmental behaviour change for participants not only during the programme but beyond its completion too (Hobson, 2001; Staats et al., 2004; Burgess and Nye, 2008; Baxter, 2009). Some very recent data have led GAP to initiate further research into the potential for EcoTeams to motivate participants to engage in other community based environmental programmes after EcoTeams ends (GAP, 2009). Given the positive reputation and findings surrounding EcoTeams, it is important in the context of this book and the wider literature that we offer it an in-depth examination. The aim of this chapter then, is to examine EcoTeams, its theoretical underpinnings and the evidence surrounding its impacts in more depth. In doing so, we will attempt to tease out the principles that help to make it an effective behavioural change programme, as well as the limitations of the EcoTeams approach. Using the results of this examination, the chapter concludes with a discussion...

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