If you want to stimulate change don’t let common sense guide you

by silke on August 27, 2014

Just came across another very palatable video on triggering behavioural change, a TEDx talk by Jeni Cross.


In this talk, Prof. Cross mentions three common sense myths and suggests that if you want to stimulate change, don’t let those myths guide you.

#1 Education will change behaviour

  • Info is not enough.
  • Presentation of info matters, it needs to be tangible, personalised and at best include social interaction.
  • The message should be framed as loss rather than as gain.

#2 You need to change attitudes to change behaviour

  • Attitudes follow behavior instead of predicting it.
  • Setting behavioural expectations (e.g. through prompts).
  • Understand underlying values and connect message to existing values.

#3 People know what motivates them to take action

  • e.g. social norms are more effective than people think: through social comparisons (e.g. seeing someone else already doing it (–> role model))

Overcoming resistance to change

by silke on August 26, 2014

This little video about overcoming the resistance to change is seeing humans pretty much as homo economicus, i.e. as rational decision makers, always weighing up pros and cons, the mermaids and the alligators. But despite it shortcomings, it is definitively worth watching.

And more or less the same in red, yellow and blue.

There are good reasons to be an apocaloptimist!

by silke on August 25, 2014

Yes! From now on, I am apocaloptimist! How about you?



We need to talk about consumption

by silke on August 15, 2014

The short animation film “WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT CONSUMPTION” by carbonomissions.org.uk shows why the reported carbon emissions are not telling the truth and why consuming more and more fails to make us  happier. 

Back to the start – industrial vs. organic farming

by silke on July 25, 2014

This sweet little spot (well yes, it’s advertisement) is definitively worth watching (and the music is worth listening to) because it contrasts industrial vs. organic farming.

And there is a happy end! 🙂


Peak everything! – peak capitalism? Talk at Urania, Berlin

by silke on June 21, 2014

When spending a lot of time thinking about consumerism and its ecological and social consequences, one cannot help to also mull over possible ways out of this dilemma. On the one hand, we often hear that we need to be positive about a problem in order to stimulate behaviour changes. On the other hand, I personally feel taken for a fool if someone only attempts to cast a positive light on or offer overly simplistic solutions to dangerous global threats such as climate change. But when being confronted with the bitter truth about global warming or resource depletion etc., I strongly feel the desire for possible solutions, for something I personally can do.

One of these situations was the evening of June 26, 2014, just after I’ve listened to a talk by Prof. Birgit Mahnkopf at Urania in Berlin, which was announced under the title “Peak everything! – Peak capitalism? What are the consequences of the socio-ecological crisis on the dynamic of capitalism?” (my own translation). I will now try to summarize what struck me most, well knowing that my meagre notes won’t allow me to capture everything. So the following is probably not a very good account of what Prof. Mahnkopf really said but more about what I made out of it.

Capitalism is based on profit and growth. Without making profit, without growing, the economy gets into trouble. The built-in striving for economic gains leads to  immoderateness and excess – and hence to the exploitation of human and natural resources. Having said that, capitalism treats nature as external input and output factors (i.e. the world famous externalities).

In a nutshell, economic growth depends on cheap natural resources and ecological sinks as well as cheap human capital. Economic growth always brings about increasing resource depletion and pollution. In its search for cheap input and output factors, capitalism has spread across the whole globe – and now it is reaching the planetary boundaries (Rockstrom 2009). A lot of things are peaking within the next 20-30 years: we are facing peak oil, peak minerals (e.g. rare earth metals), peak arable land, peak drinkable water,… and climate change.

But what does that mean for capitalism itself?

Read the rest of this entry »

Eating animals … errrh … Fugu

by silke on May 21, 2014

Oh no. 🙁


The Story of the Swiss Energy Revolution

by silke on May 18, 2014

It’s always good to know that you are not alone.

The following video shows the story of the energy revolution in Switzerland (and Germany) after Fukushima, the reasons why and what it’s all about.

Source: University of St. Gallen