Blog Action Day: Changing Minds (and Climate)

Climate change is a fact, but it’s also a choice. Everyday we make decisions about our energy consumption, most of which will have an effect on global warming. Sometimes these decisions are impacted by policy, but climate change is not inevitable; we can slow and maybe prevent its effects through our own energy conservation choices.

This year’s Blog Action Day is a call to speak out about climate change, but by now most of us know what we should say about global warming. Probably the biggest contribution individuals can make is to turn their attitudes into behavior, at least by adopting energy conservation as a way of life.

In my Master’s thesis I compared different strategies to promoting energy conservation through case studies of three communication campaigns, including We Can Solve It, Flex Your Power, and Energy Star. As an example the above advertisement, from the Flex Your Power program in California (following their energy crisis in 2000), is only one part of a comprehensive social marketing campaign which has successfully reduced total energy consumption by at least 14%. These ads go further than merely providing all the reasons you’d want to save energy, because they give people actions to use in a way which make them seem fun and easy.

Of course no one approach to this issue works with every audience, and energy conservation is only part of the solution to climate change. In the future I’ll be posting more about my original research into energy and communication, but on Blog Action Day I would encourage you to do your own research.  My former professor Matthew Nisbet has studied communication about climate change, which he blogs about extensively, which helped inspire my own study of energy conservation.  Perhaps leading your own study about what you can do would be the best use of your energy today