Article: Change hurts: Influencing behavior is a messy business | Grist.
This is a great article from Grist summarizes an initiative called Tidy Streets, a feedback exercise that communicated to an entire street (and the world) their energy use over a period of time. While there was initial change (the novelty effect?) the end findings are less than sustained behavior change:
”If you give people feedback on energy use, it does have the effect of reducing energy usage in the short-term,” Bird says. “What is trickier is, how do you get sustained sustainable behavior? Anybody who tells you they know how to do that, maybe hasn’t done it.”
It’s trickier than we think. What makes YOU change your habits or pick up a new practice?
There’s no silver bullet, but maybe silver buckshot. Our changed actions are a product of our perceptions, our peers, our resource (time and money and abilities), and our environment. Bird has found a great way to bring awareness, as he credits himself, but I agree with him that awareness is different than sustained behavior change. Awareness is part of it, but how do you build a culture?
I also appreciate the article’s coverage of the boomarang effect, though a misnomer, it’s really a messaging issue.