Strong resistance to making people think green

May 17, 2013
Strong resistance to making people think green

Most of us know we should live in a more environmentally sustainable way. But it does not happen because we do not really feel involved

How can policymakers change the way people think? This is what the InContext project, funded by the EU, hopes to answer. Leading European research institutions in the fields of transition, behaviour and are trying to create a manual for change. This manual should ultimately be developed into a so-called 'Transition Theory' that is, as yet, unproven. And this theory, in its turn, should make it possible to change people's . For example, towards living in a more environmental sustainable way.

A number of pilot projects have been initiated in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The idea was to put this theory to the test, to refine it and hopefully to prove it right. For example, in the Dutch city of Rotterdam a community centre in the neighbourhood of Carnisse was facing cutbacks. It was due to be closed down in January 2012. Drift, the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, which is a project partner, took it upon itself to help the people of Carnisse save it.

Project leader Julia Whittmayer, researcher and consultant, and other colleagues of Drift invited residents to come up with ideas, and to present them in brain storming sessions. This resulted in a plan of action. This also gave people an opportunity to decide themselves how they could help. It was expected that this process would provide inspiring examples from amongst the residents of Carnisse to motivate others to spring into action. Thus they would ultimately make a 'bigger noise' and save the community center. But to Whittmayer's dismay, many preferred "to be told what to do!" instead.

It might be true that inspiring examples can help change. But it is just as true that some people rather want to be told what to do, according to behavioural psychologist Max Mulder, who is a market researcher at the Dutch consultancy called Beautiful Lives, based in Hilversum.

For now, the community center survives. The city of Rotterdam has created a temporary rental contract at the very reasonable price of zero euros. So the immediate close-down is prevented. But Milja Kruijt, one of the volunteers involved in organising the action meetings has her doubts. "The city wants the center to start making money very soon, so it can actually pay the real rent. I really don't believe this is going to happen. Carnisse is a poor neighborhood," she says.

And as far as the 'Theory of Transition' is concerned, Kruijt does not believe it is possible to apply it. "How change will happen is completely dependent on the situation," she points out, "You can't make rules for that. And what if these ever-so-important 'shining examples' just aren't there? Or get a new and demanding job? This is nonsense!"

Some scientists think Milja Kruijt is being too harsh. This is the case of behavioural psychologist Hans Ruitenberg, who is co-founder and director of Project Helder, which is also trying to make people change their mind about sustainability. Ruitenberg, based in the Hague, thinks it might be useful to formulate a theory of transition, mainly to give policymakers food for thought and inspiration. But a Holy Grail of change in the form of a General Theory of Transition is a myth according to him. "Human behaviour is simply too strongly influenced by all kinds of external and internal factors. Let try to create a simple toolbox of change and not pretend anything grander is possible"

Mulder is even more adamant: "It's a pessimistic thought, but a recipe for change cannot exist. Image running through steps 1 to 6 and hey presto: we've changed the way people think! It doesn't work that way. But I can imagine policymakers would kill to get their hands on such a recipe!"

Explore further: New estimates on carbon emissions triggered by 300 years of cropland expansion in Northeast China

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ArtflDgr
2.8 / 5 (9) May 17, 2013
How can policymakers change the way people think?

i dont know? first i guess you would have to ask, what gives you the right to play with their heads and manipulate them... and then go back to germany, and research a joseph mengele, whose life work was how to change people (intervening in kids lives), so that they would fit into the future world his science buddies, like you, were planning and figuring how to make those that dont fit, fit better. you do remember, joseph mengele, a interventionist socialist doctor who thought with the others that it was ok to experiement and do what your asking.

they had another guy like that in the soviet union too... care to discuss that?
ArtflDgr
2.6 / 5 (10) May 17, 2013
you realize that the tulip people thought they had the right answers too..

but i guess you dont remember that the libertarian green party is what came out of the same ideas and people that joseph mengele came out of, and they were the first environmentalists that practiced what your trying to practice. (my family died there by those ideas).

i guess you cant see that the idea of giving the laand back to some prior peoples was the idea behind blood and soil.... and that the green ideas in silent spring got their start by a man named schwab... schwab as as extreme in his ideas of social change as mengele, and as sangers friends popenoe and gamble who conversed with the man who implemented and justified the final solution.

if you cant change people, what do you propose to do with them?
Neinsense99
1.4 / 5 (9) May 17, 2013
Instant Hitler and Stalin references. Yep, discourse is suffering...
tadchem
3.9 / 5 (7) May 17, 2013
The world is half-full of people who want to *make* other people do this or that. They are petty despots.
The other half of the world adamantly resists being made to do anything. They want liberty.
"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." - Robert Heinlein
Those who want people to be controlled (especially those who want to be the controllers) will never be able to understand those who want to be left alone, and vice versa.
DavidW
2 / 5 (8) May 17, 2013
This is where antialias steps in and says the truth doesn't matter and so you are not involved...

Pfff....
gregor1
2.1 / 5 (11) May 18, 2013
What the lies and propaganda aren't working? Erlich and Hansen's attempts a terrifying everyone with 40 years of predictions that never came true haven't worked? Who'd a thunk it? Perhaps the rabid greenies should try killing people? Oh I forgot. They tried that already...
arq
2 / 5 (4) May 18, 2013
There will always be people who want to control and influence the world. Jesus, mohammed, ram, buddha also did that. Does that make them bad? No!

Product advertising is another tool to influence people. But people dont complain about it.
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (6) May 18, 2013
People are always more willing to devastate their life environment before sacrificing their momentary standard of life. We know about many examples from human history (the Mayan culture, the Christmas island). They're living like the bacteria: they eat until they have something to eat and they die out, when there is nothing to eat anymore.
Doug_Huffman
2 / 5 (4) May 18, 2013
Good Argument on marketeering!

Think globally, but act locally as a sovereign individual is effective.

Retire to a small isolated community where the consequences of stupidity are evident.
sanghoonm
1 / 5 (3) May 18, 2013
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* Gcf climate change, global environmental restoration technology commercialization, green technology, financial funding and services.

B. oecd193 member states, climate change, global environmental restoration goals: the 1950s.
a) Flood defense technology, earthquake, typhoon, hurricane, Sandy, torrential rains, landslides, volcanic explosions, global warming.
War, social stability, knowledge services.

C.oecd193-member World Water Day: Alternative water supply services.

D. oecd193 member states enacted cliff: European Union 28 countries (Greece, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, FORT teukal, Italy)
a) national about 2 million members. Support services, job creation:

E. oecd193-member provincial government, a new growth engine. (Roadmap, the environment, housing, building) Ubiquitous smart environments Rushcutters restore the city.
a) the local government water resources. Improve the quality of life: per
Sinister1811
2 / 5 (7) May 18, 2013
The world is half-full of people who want to *make* other people do this or that. They are petty despots.


So what? Could you imagine a world where nobody cared, and everybody just did whatever the hell they wanted? We'd be living in chaos. I believe that a bit of responsibility is a good thing. There is no control here, just a suggestion to change our ways to prevent long-term consequences.
gregor1
1.5 / 5 (8) May 18, 2013
"How can policymakers change the way people think?"
In a democracy the voters wishes are supposed to be reflected by the policy makers not the other way round. The paternalistic "Daddy knows best" attitude will only breed resentment and dissent. There are few who would disagree that we have protect the environment the question is what is the best way. Mind control never works in the long run.
geokstr
1.6 / 5 (7) May 19, 2013
What the lies and propaganda aren't working? Erlich and Hansen's attempts a terrifying everyone with 40 years of predictions that never came true haven't worked? Who'd a thunk it? Perhaps the rabid greenies should try killing people? Oh I forgot. They tried that already...

And are still trying it today. Cass Sunstein, Obama's former policy director, wrote a book called "Nudge" which is all about how to get people to do what the controlling class wants them to do, whether they like it or not. Problems arise when a majority don't want to do it, then the more oppressive forms of shaping behavior begin, and end with the mass extermination of opponents favored by Josef, the Chairman and Vendicar(A,B,C,D,E...X). To make it more palatable for themselves, they just think of those slaughtered as "eggs" that must be "broken" to get to the omelet that never arrives.

And what makes the controllers any more right about anything than the subjects? A Harvard degree? Being a Collective?
geokstr
1.6 / 5 (7) May 19, 2013
The world is half-full of people who want to *make* other people do this or that. They are petty despots.


So what? Could you imagine a world where nobody cared, and everybody just did whatever the hell they wanted? We'd be living in chaos. I believe that a bit of responsibility is a good thing. There is no control here, just a suggestion to change our ways to prevent long-term consequences.


And who is to decide what this control is, and who must be controlled and how? You?

I know this is heresy, but let's suppose AGW is not correct, at least as to what is causing the climate to change, and how to fix it. Now what happens if we've programmed the proletariat to modify their behavior in exactly the wrong way, and we've made the problems worse?

Are the controllers, i.e., you, willing to accept personal responsibility for the resulting unintended consequences?

No? Why am I not surprised?
Shootist
1 / 5 (6) May 19, 2013
Recycling saves nothing and costs money.

Bah!

Drill here, drill now.
freeiam
1 / 5 (3) May 19, 2013
A new target for consultancy firm 'beautiful lies': 'How can people change the way policymakers think?'