SEI Contact:

Steve Cinderby

Telephone: +44 1904 322994

Time-frame: 2013–2014

Bridging Environmental Values

Much current government policy and initiatives is aimed at encouraging pro-environmental behaviour change (PEBC) amongst organisations and individuals to ameliorate environmental pollution and the drivers of climate change.

Pro-environmental behaviour means behaviour that consciously seeks to minimize the negative impact of one's actions on the natural and built world (e.g. minimize resource and energy consumption, use of non-toxic substances, reduce waste production, etc.).

Pro-environmental behaviour can be viewed as a mixture of self-interest (e.g. to pursue a strategy that minimises one's own health risks) and of concern for other people, the next generation, other species, or whole ecosystems (e.g. preventing air pollution that may cause risks for others' health and/or the global climate).

A major premise of such behaviour change programmes has been that providing information that improves knowledge leads to greater sensitivity toward the environment, which in turn will encourage individuals to engage in more responsible ways toward the environment. It may be hoped that pro-environmental behaviour undertaken in one social sphere (home, work, church, sports club) might translate to how people behave in these other settings for example, recycling or energy efficiency in the workplace leads to matching patterns in other settings. However, there is little evidence of how people actually translate and transfer their activities between these different settings. Managing the conflict between work and home domains has become an increasingly pressing issue.

In order to make the transitions to a more sustainable society it will be necessary to gain a better understanding of whether, how and why these disconnects in behaviour occur. More importantly there is the challenge of identifying and developing individual or community led solutions to overcome these disconnections.

The arts and humanities approaches and methods offers a unique way of identifying and investigating these behaviour choices that has not been utilised extensively before in this field.

This project pilots an approach combining participatory diagramming with co-creation and analysis of art pieces to investigate these choices, barriers and opportunities with approximately 50 community participants. it is hoped that the use of visual methodologies ways for people to express information and feelings that are difficult to capture using other approaches.

They are intended to create a more trusting atmosphere that enhances participant sharing. The creative process is also intended to stimulate amongst participants new personal insights. For example, it has been argued that through the process of producing a drawing, the drawer is simultaneously constructing the knowledge represented in the drawing and the actual product of the drawing itself.Participants will be recruited from a cross-section of businesses representing a spectrum of strong to weak environmental policies and corresponding home patterns of behaviour. This will allow us to look at the spectrum of connections and disconnections between home based actions and work place behaviour.

It is hoped that the novel approaches piloted by this scoping study will identify new opportunities and methods for exploring the issues of encouraging and embedding pro-environmental behaviour across society.

Duration: Feb 13 - Jan 14

Funder: AHRC


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