Motivation and Behavioural Change
In zerocarbonbritain2030, a huge array of measures will be implemented in each sector to address climate change. Many of these are policy driven, however individuals and communities must also play an active part in decarbonisation. The public can do this by accepting, supporting and indeed calling for the positive change that climate science shows is necessary. Change is challenging. But good communications can limit anxiety towards change, and can inspire action.
How do we best change behaviour; and to what extent is a change in attitudes required? Social marketing theory suggests that government and NGOs must develop communication strategies focused on the audiences they want to reach, rather than the problem they want to solve. This can be achieved by the promotion of a series of entertaining, tangible and achievable action experiences. Reaching out to those not traditionally engaged with “green” or “ethical” issues can foster new social norms and encourage the widespread adoption of new behaviours across society.
A simultaneous process of challenging extrinsic values in society, as recommended by identity campaigning proponents, must take place. Social marketing tools are vital, but communicators should consider the long-term ramifications of multiple individual appeals to existing values relating to wealth and social status. Programmes to help draw out intrinsic values using fun, participatory methodologies amongst important role models and norm leaders may be one way of amalgamating lessons from the social marketing and identity campaigning approaches. Supporting local programmes which attempt to achieve specific behavioural objectives but also foster intrinsic, community-oriented values, is another way.