"Our class had just finished watching a video about plastics and their impact on the environment. The students enthusiastically debated the best ways to influence public behavior – how could we get people to decrease their purchases of single-use plastic bottles and disposable plastic bags? The answer that the students came up with is the same one they come up with every semester – education! If people just understand the impact of their actions, they will change their behavior.
Unfortunately, research strongly suggests this assumption is not accurate. Understanding environmental impacts doesn’t seem to lead directly to pro-environmental behavior. Research indicates that two of the tools that do seem to encourage pro-environmental behavior are:
the removal of barriers to pro-environmental behavior, and
modeling of pro-environmental behavior by role models."
Want to learn more? I detail how we can promote environmentally sustainable behavior and provide an example of how this behavior is supported at the local government level on Virginia Tech's Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability blog -- check it out!