Reducing water pollution is critical for protecting aquatic life, ensuring public health, achieving social justice, and fomenting a resilient and thriving economy. Currently, many types of contaminants run through the world’s rivers, streams, basins and oceans, including synthetic chemicals, plastics, nitrates and fecal coliform. Behind each of these different sources lies a chain of people who engage in behaviors that lead up to the pollution we see today.
Some of these behaviors include littering, dumping raw sewage into fields, depositing industrial waste into waterways, and using and overusing synthetic fertilizers (more examples in the FAQs below). Therefore, solving water pollution will require changing those behaviors that are contributing to it. To achieve this, the traditional tools of information, rules and regulations and financial incentives must be complemented with strategies rooted in behavioral science, including emotional appeals, social influences and choice architecture.
Fortunately, solutions that aim to do just this are already starting to emerge worldwide. This Solution Search is designed to surface, spotlight and accelerate the most promising of these approaches.
We are asking organizations worldwide: How have you promoted behaviors that reduce water pollution?
Contest Details & Prizes
Early Entrant Prize
Environmental Justice Prize
Who will judge this contest?
Juan Camilo Cárdenas
Mustafa Santiago Ali
Rocky Sanchez Tirona
Tamara Toles O’Laughlin
Wallace J Nichols
Frequently Asked Questions
What counts as a “behavior”?
Distinguishing between beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors is important.
Beliefs are what you know or accept to be true. Attitudes are what you think is good or bad. Intentions are what you plan or intend to do, and behaviors are what you actually do.
Behavior change may involve changing people’s beliefs, attitudes or intentions, but the end result of what people end up doing (or not doing) is what we are looking for.
What are some examples of actors and behaviors related to the water pollution challenge?
Here are some examples of how you might think of your intervention in terms of behaviors and actors.
Example Behavior Actor Pairs:
Please note that this list is not exhaustive of all the possible actors or behaviors that can be submitted to this contest.
|Fishers||Stop discarding fishing gear into the ocean|
|Homeowner||Install microplastic filter on washing machine|
|Food industry managers||Only provide plastic to-go utensils upon request|
|Clothing producers||Reduce the use of materials that release toxic byproducts into water|
|Trash / Wastewater Collectors||Take sewage/trash to collection site rather than dumping elsewhere|
How do I know which behavior lever I am utilizing?
The behavior levers oftentimes work together, so there may be multiple levers at play in your intervention. For example, your program may be motivating people to abide by an anti-littering law (rules and regulations) by making it socially unacceptable to litter (social influences).
Explore behavior.rare.org to learn more about each lever or download our guide, Levers of Behavior Change: Principles and Strategies.
Who is eligible to enter the Solution Search contest?
Any organization or institution worldwide is eligible (e.g. city government, business, non-profit, university, etc.). Individuals are not eligible to enter.
For further questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the timeline for this contest?
October 8, 2020: Open for entries
November 22, 2020: Deadline to submit for early entry prize
January 10, 2021: Entry deadline
April 13, 2021: Top 10 finalists announced
May 3, 2021: Voting period begins
June 8, 2021: Voting period closes
Finalist workshops, networking events, and summit may take place in the late Summer - Fall 2021. Final dates to be determined.
Who can I contact for more information or with questions?
You can reach the Solution Search team at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.