Environmental problems are also behavioural problems. Today we are equipped with a great deal of technologies, but we need to change our behaviors and daily habits in order to transform the way we produce and consume energy and have solid and lasting impacts on climate change.
«Entrusting the future to physical scientists and their technicians misses the primary cause of the current predicament and a crucial strategy for lasting solutions: changing human behaviour. It is critical to examine the psychological dimensions of planetary difficulties because “environmental problems” are behavioural problems: They are caused by the thoughts, beliefs, values, and worldviews upon which human beings act», write Winter e Koger (2003, p.2).
The key role of daily behaviors
Environmental problems are also behavioral problems. Today we are equipped with a great deal of technologies, eco-friendly materials and innovative solutions to make our houses sustainable and our lifestyles as carbon-free as possible.
But in order to transform the way we produce and consume energy and have a solid and lasting impact on climate change we also need to change our behaviors and daily habits.
That is to say that we must act so as to make the most out of technology, using all the tools in our hands to build a new society that will truly respect our planet, preserving its precious resources.
Since energy is connected to many (if not all) of our daily activities, the way we use our electrical appliances and our heating systems is crucial to determine how sustainable our houses are.
New habits needed to save energy
Not everybody knows that there are moments of the day when our energy not only costs less, but is also greener; and this is particularly true if you are taking part in an energy community. This may require to change, for instance, the way we are used to turning on the washing machine, the dishwasher, the air conditioning, the heating systems or the way we are used to scheduling our showers and family morning routine.
There are also many different ways and programs to use our house-appliances, but not all of them are convenient for us and for the planet. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the differences and learn how to improve.
Finally, there are products, tools and services we use, buy or enjoy alone, which should rather be shared (especially if we live in a block of flats) to save huge amounts of energy and money. Sharing economy is indeed growing and requires our habits and world views to shift towards new paradigms.
Therefore, this challenge will be focused to help citizens learn simple good habits and behaviours that will make their daily lives more sustainable, through innovative approaches to information, communication and non-formal education.
How could we help people use less heat, water, electricity, fuels and time to carry out their daily businesses, while reaching better results in terms of wellbeing, sustainability and savings?
For example, ideas could focus on:
- how to communicate new ways of using electrical appliances in our houses, to help people learn how to evaluate their present behaviours and gather new insights to change it;
- how to inform people about a wiser and responsible use of heating;
- how to effectively convey the motivation needed to deeply change our daily routines, dealing with different hours and pace that would be preferable for carrying out activities requiring a lot of energy;
- how to foster collective change and build networks of support among citizens;
- how to foster initiatives of sharing and circular economy in neighbourhoods and blocks of flats;
- how to make people feel involved and emotionally connected to others in this effort
- how to share and give value to good practices and initiatives already in place