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Posts Tagged ‘greendropping’

These past two weeks spent traveling in France and Italy convinced me even more about the role of culture and society in shaping individual behaviors. Most interesting was to observe how both I and Prad adapted our behaviors to fit the different customs in each country. Prad, who usually protests vigorously the slightest whiff of cigarette smoke back home, thought nothing of taking strolls on the smoke-filled Parisian sidewalks. In Italy, we quickly learned to conform to the practice of drinking bottled water at the restaurants. Two examples of the power of social norms, relative to individual environmental choices.

This raises the question of how to bring changes in normative behaviors, that will support sustainable lifestyles, across cultures. According to Horne, “New norms are thought to emerge when costs of compliance with existing norms become too high relative to the rewards“. Montgomery weighs concerns of costly normative actions against concerns of morality or social opinion. Though unlikely to change their behavior when norms become costly, individuals will praise those willing to do so; after a few have tested the waters, a domino effect of individuals who harbor less fear of social sanction will follow. If these innovators receive social approval, individuals will continue to participate in new strategies in order to gain recognition. Christakis‘s research similarly points to the social nature of behavioral changes.

On the green front, several trends are emerging that should give us hope. First, is the growing acceptance of the idea of green as universally cool and no longer the claim of a few treehuggers. The social sanction for behaviors such as biking, recycling, carpooling, using mass transit, recycling, to name just a few, has tipped towards the positive. Concurrently, rising gas and energy prices, are making it harder and harder for people to maintain their old behaviors. SUVs, boats, superfluous driving no longer make sense for the majority of Americans. Other adaptive behaviors are stirring, as in urban gardening, and driving more slowly.

Because time is of the essence, we would do well to consider strategies to accelerate this movement:

First, are opinion changing strategies, including all mass media and communication campaigns. Every green drop counts. What I write here in this blog. What you write, either in your own blog, or as a commenter on others’ blogs. What you say in casual conversations to your friends and coworkers. What you ask from your elected representative. What you communicate through your example, as in here and here. What the “we” and the “Together” people do. What Barack Obama, and other leaders declare is important. What the New York Times, and the rest of the press put on their front page. What Arianna Huffington chooses to promote. It all matters.

Second, are cost raising strategies, in relative terms, either through the offering of new, lower cost options, or the raising of the costs of existing options, whether volitional or not. Rising gas and energy prices are an example of the latter. And so are various forms of carbon tax. Smart technologies such as more fuel efficient cars or home energy efficiency solutions work on the other end, through the promise of higher financial rewards, and social acceptance.

Third are direct behavior shaping strategies such as evolved from Pierre Chandon‘s research. Chandon‘s study, ‘When Does the Past Repeat Itself? The Role of Self-Prediction and Norms.‘ tells us that ‘by predicting our behavior, we can actually reinforce good habits and break bad ones‘, a sophisticated twist on the power of self-fulfilling prophecy. What this means for our problem, is that by asking people such simple questions as ‘Do you bike, do you carpool, how often and how long do you walk, do you turn off your lights, do you hang your clothes to dry, do you eat fresh food?’ chances are it will increase the likelihood of them engaging in these behaviors. Conversely, by not mentioning other negative behaviors such as driving, using dryer, eating processed food, etc, they will be less inclined to perpetuate those. 

This is just the beginning of a long list. My main point is, thought leaders on climate change and other global environmental issues with a human factor component, need to spend more time exploring such behavior shaping strategies, based on the available body of research on normative behaviors.

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Who said environmental activism has to be serious? I just got this mail from Ryan Watkins-Hughes:

I just stumbled across your idea for Greendropping. Very clever. Below is information about an upcoming shopdropping project I’m doing. Please feel free to pass along to people you think would be interested. Thanks.

RWH
http://www.shopdropping.net
http://www.watkinshughes.com

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SHOPDROPPING.NET is now calling on artists, designers, media makers, and creative folks to purchase greeting cards and alter them in any way they see fit. Any form of commercial card, from wedding to graduation to birthday to bereavement, is eligible. But clever and witty will be given preference over easy and distasteful.

Please submit JPEG reproductions of the altered greeting cards to submissions@shopdropping.net with GREETINGS as the subject line.

All files must be sized to 1024 x 768 at 72 dpi. Each altered card must include the text “www.shopdropping.net” somewhere in the new design. It can be discreet, on the back of the card, and unobtrusive but it must be present.When submitting the cover and inside of the same card please indicate this clearly in the file titles (for example “cover.jpg”, “page2.jpg”).

The deadline for submissions is April 1st 2008.

Once all of the digital reproductions have been submitted, selected artists will be given the address of a fellow participant to swap cards with. The cards will then be shopdropped back into circulation and the digital reproductions will be featured on SHOPDROPPING.NET. Please do not submit digital files if you do not intend to follow through with the act of shopdropping a fellow participant’s work. The digital reproductions are a means to select and document the artworks, but do not replace the act of shopdropping the originals into unsuspecting stores.

I am on my way to the stationary store . . . Will you join me? Of course my card is going to have some green subversive message embedded into it. I urge you to do the same.

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delicious.jpgI listened to Tina‘s suggestion and started a ‘greendrop‘ tag on del.icio.us. This way we will be able to track all the ‘green drops’ in the blogosphere. Here is how it works:

  1. If you do not have an account yet on del.icio.us, just go to the site and open one. It’s free.
  2. The del.icio.us and tag icons will automatically appear in your toolbar.
  3. Whenever you go on a site and comment on a post with a ‘greendrop‘, just click on the ‘tag‘ icon and type ‘greendrop‘ in the tag window.

That’s all! If a sufficient number of us go crazy with greendropping, ‘greendrop’ may even surface in the del.icio.us tag cloud. . .

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First day of greendropping in all the mommy sites. ok, there was also one dad site. I was surprised how easy it was to relate to the different posts. It helped that I was amongst my peers, and I could totally empathize, regardless of the content. A mom is a mom, is a mom.

Here are some of the comments I made, with a bit of context:

greendrop21.jpg on emomsathome‘s post on ‘Monday motivation, mom gets it done‘, about fitting in a day’s work:

Your post raises the question of, what does being efficient means as a mom?

There are many ways to evaluate, from how much work you are able to accomplish, to how much happiness you are able to create for your family. Both are important.

My own bias as a mom and green blogger is to emphasize the need for moms to come to terms with the biggest challenge facing our children’s not so distant future. I am referring to global warming. No, I am not paranoid, just realistic.

The good news is there is a lot we can do to make a difference. Most important is to set the example and inspire our kids to become responsible green citizens. By driving less, and walking and biking more for instance.

greendrop21.jpg on Parenthacks‘s post on ‘Reduce mess by putting ketchup under the hot dog’:

Love your link for recycling old mustard and ketchup bottles!

I wish you had a category for green hacking. I see global warming as the main threat to our children’s future. The more I read about it, the scarier and more urgent the problem seems to become.

Here is my green hack for the day: walk and bike with your kids, whenever possible. It’s good for them, for you, and the planet. Plus, it will save you gas money.

greendrop21.jpg on 5 minutes for mom‘s post on ‘Project Runway Winner’:

I too am a huge Project Runway fan. And I won’t tell who won . . .

As a mom and green blogger, I just wish green things got as much attention as Project Runway. Not as exciting, but so critical for the future or our children. Not a day goes by without more news about the urgency of taking action. The health and future of our children is at risk. As moms, there is so much we can do to. First, by setting the example and greening our lives as much as possible. Walking, biking, using public transportation instead of driving. Just as an example.

We are stewards of the Earth.

greendrop21.jpg on Scribbit‘s post on ‘Sprouting Egg Heads’, featuring creative way to turn Easter Eggs into miniature gardening pots for herbs:

Love the idea. Nothing wasted, plus you are teaching the kids about gardening, healthy eating, and also indirectly about green living.

As a mom, and green blogger, I feel we have so much responsibility towards our children, to prepare them for the environmental challenges ahead.

Thank you!

greendrop21.jpg on bitch PhD‘s post on ‘Consumer Sunday’, about her urges to buy a car and get a new appartment in Chicago:

Boy, can I relate to you! I lived in Chicago for ten years while my daughters were little, and I do remember those times of standing on the L Platform, freezing winds piercing through my never warm enough clothes. I did not own a car either and often wished I did.

This being said, times have changed and with the planet heating up faster by the day, I could never get myself to buy a car if I lived again in a big city like Chicago. My green conscience won’t let me. Months of blogging away about all that global warming shit have killed all my consuming urges. Actually, I have nearly stopped driving my car.

I am glad you are mentioning the environment. As moms, there is so much we can do to help prepare our children for the environmental challenges ahead. What scares me most is how close we are to hitting the wall. We do have the power though to set the example, and make choices for our family that will make a difference.

If you get a car, at least, try to get one of those fuel efficient ones, and limit your outings to those days when it is minus thirty with windshield . . .

greendrop21.jpg on Fussy‘s post on ‘Six Things I am All About This Week‘, about trivial things she liked:

Loved the Pepsi Commercial, and the Band-Aid touch . . .

May I add a #7?

How about something green, like taking a long walk with family for some CO2 free action?

Sorry, but I am a green mommy blogger, and I can’t help but drop green stuff whenever I can.

greendrop21.jpg on Design Moms post on ‘Baileys‘, a supplier of household items:

Wow! I loved the Eco-Household stuff. It reminded me of my grandmother’s farm back in France.

Lately though, I am on a no buy kick, and find great joy in making do with whatever I already have around the house. As a ‘born again green mom’ I find it incredibly satisfying to create aesthetically pleasing solutions out of ‘nothing’.

Small drops . . . Day after day, from me, from some of you. Let’s see what happens.

PS- I made up a greendrop21.jpg icon for the project. Please feel free to use it on your site, or anytime you greendrop.

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