Describe the technical solution you wanted the target audience to adopt:
The sustainable choice is often more expensive or more complicated than its unsustainable counterpart. Moreover, people tend to not change their behavior when there is no psychological strain & they stick to the behavior they are used to (power of habits).
The solution promoted by the Germanwatch Hand Print is therefore the encouragement of a behavior that enables changes in structures to make the sustainable behavior easier. In different formats (e.g. workshops) we empower groups & individuals to increase their Hand Print by increasing
(1) knowledge and awareness
(2) feeling of responsibility and motivation
(3) competencies for political and advocacy work
as well as by (4) consulting projects and connecting different stakeholders.
An example for Hand Print action: the initiation of a citizen initiative promoting public transport and cycling as the most attractive choice in the city center (e.g. through more cycling lanes, free public transport on weekends).
Describe your behavioral intervention:
We see individuals not only as consumers but as shapers of the world they live in. Therefore, we encourage a behavior that aims at changing structures to make it easier for all to follow sustainable lifestyles. This includes choices of travel, energy, food, clothes, housing, savings.
Societal structures where changes have an influence on many people’s behavior can be on different levels:
- Schools, universities
- Religious communities
- Neighborhoods, municipalities
- Federal and international level
Examples of levers for structural changes that can make sustainable behavior easier:
- Cost advantages for sustainable choices (e.g. train rides should be less expensive than short distance flights and environmental damages resulting from the latter should be reflected in prices)
- Sustainable options should be the “default option” (e.g. renewable energies for households getting registered)
- Organizational sustainability guidelines (e.g. guidelines for regional & seasonal products in canteens)
Hand Print action to move these levers can consist in political engagement linking international agreements (SDGs, Paris) to the different levels of action (town, neighborhood, school...):
- writing and campaigning for citizens’ initiatives
- writing letters to politicians
- networking for an idea & start position papers with coalitions of different groups, creating new alliances
- initiating dialogues with CEOs
- organizing demonstrations
As needed, please explain the type of intervention in more detail.:
According to the Norm-Activation-Model (Schwartz, 1977), one prerequisite for pro-environmental action (here: Hand Print engagement) is the activation of personal pro-environmental norms. These norms are influenced by 4 factors that we do address in our ESD, see point 1-4 under implementation:
a) Problem awareness
b) Ascription of responsibility
c) Outcome efficacy
Moreover, we address social norms through best practice stories; and positive emotions through positive visions of the future.
However, we know that situational factors are more influential than norms in defining how we behave (see Goal-framing theory, Lindenberg & Steg, 2007). This is why we encourage smaller groups of changemakers for structural changes.