Combatting the Climate Emergency is difficult. How do you start?
Our belief at Don’t Do A Dodo is that the answer lies in clubbing together in ‘Carbon Clubs’, to affect meaningful community action.
In this article, I’ll make the case for why group action rocks.
Saving energy requires two lifestyle changes: what we buy and how we behave.
Or put another way – the things we use and how we use them.
Changing either of these is highly inconvenient to us emotionally. We take pleasure in our purchasing habits and we like to behave on autopilot, repeating our routines.
So a fascinating insight on motivating change in energy habits is a big deal. It comes from Arizona State University psychology professor, Robert Cialdini’s research.
So what is the magical insight? What is the motivating factor to change our energy habits?
Well, it’s not the financial benefits, or the achievement of carbon saving targets. Not even the glow of being a good citizen.
No, it was simply being told that your neighbours were doing better than you.
Or in the vernacular: “keeping up with the Jones’s“, as explained in this TED talk by Alex Laskey of Opower.
So let’s use this powerful motivational force and form groups where we all want to compete to do (more than?) our bit.
Overcoming Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs.
It is a defence mechanism against change and trying new things. We justify inaction by comforting ourselves that our inertia is OK because the evidence supports us. But we filter the evidence rather than allow ourselves to be confronted by inconvenient truths.
In other words, we accept low standards of evidence to confirm our bias but require high standards of evidence to change our beliefs.
It is particularly strong with emotional issues. The antidote is to create an environment where we have lots of positive evidence, stories, help and advice from others that you respect and trust.
And where to find such others?
Groups of people, of course!
Pioneering Alone or Together?
Doing something new can be a rollercoaster ride – rewarding but scary in places. So why not share the ride with others?
Not only do you encourage each other along the journey, you have access to many more resources as you share your diverse skills and encouragement.
Pioneering something on your own can be very lonely. So again, let’s use the power of groups and have fun at the same time.
The most material benefit of working as a group is the ability to bulk buy. This is the practice of clubbing together to create economies of scale for the supplier.
This, in turn, delivers volume price discounts and better service from said supplier. Suppliers value big orders much more highly than little ones. In an energy context, there’s a third group-buy element and that’s the power of collective action in something called demand side response (DSR). We’ll blog more on this later.
For now, let’s recognise why Groups Rock and why we should play along to their powerful tune! If you fancy getting involved with a Carbon Club right now and making a start, you can do that right here.