Public Engagement – March 2012 Newsletter

The Public Engagement Sub-group anounces a new Chair

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, the national youth information and citizenship charity for young people, has volunteered to sit as the new chair of the Public Engagement Sub-Group. Louise has an extensive background in Public Relations and communications, and has great plans in store for the Public Engagement sub-group. Along with George Tarvit, from keep Scotland Beautiful, as vice chair, the group has a new focus for 2012. The group has a two-fold purpose of:

1. Behave as an ‘intelligence hub’ that all the sub-groups may reference for reliable information on behaviour change and public engagement issues; and

2. Create a high profile public dialogue relating to a low carbon Scotland.

Tools of the trade

The Scottish Government Behaviour Research unit’s Climate Change Behaviour Research Programme has a wealth of resources from their 2010 event“What Works in Behaviour Change?” Another valuable tool is Defra’s recently launched, Sustainable Consumption and Production Knowledge Portal,

which allows you to easilyaccess information across several sources. Low-carbon Scotland. Also the Scottish Government published its report on the Impact of Low- carbon Initiatives on Workplace Behaviours!

Issues in public engagement

Recently we came across a fantastic piece of work from the company Futerra. They specialize in sustainable communications and have done a great deal of work with public engagement. They recently created “The Rules of the Game”, a simple guide for communicating climate change. Some of the ideas that jump out include the following:

  • Information can’t work alone
  • Link climate change mitigation to positive desires/aspirations
  • Raise the status of climate change mitigation

An academic paper in Environment and Behaviour, titled, A Cross-Cultural Assessment of Three Theories of Pro-Environmental Behaviour by lead author Mark Cordano, explores cross-cultural differences in pro-environmental behaviour. The article explores several theories of pro-environmental behaviour, including the widely followed ‘Value-Based Approach’. This theory assumes that people base their behaviour on individual values. These values are believed to be the guiding principles in attainable life-goals. The paper highlights the idea that people have a separate set of values when it comes to environmental issues.

Future events

Hard Rain Exhibit going on now at The Royal Botanical Gardens.

Second Sub-Group Meeting to be held on May 30th.

Keep an eye out for information on the Speed Limits Seminar to be held in late May or early June!

Common Cause Workshop April 25th

Cost-Saving Energy Efficiencies Conference June 19th

2020 Public Engagement Sub-Group

For more frequent updates on issues in public engagement follow us on twitter! @climateintern

Sites of Interest

The Green Alliance Blog

Climate Change Communication

SmartWay Logistics

Is Sustainable Development a lost cause?

Meta-Analysis of Pro-Environmental Behaviour Studies

Envirobase Search Tool

Talking Climate Research Tool on Communicating Climate Change

Greener Scotland

This year people across Scotland are being encouraged to ‘Go Greener Together’ and to think about how and what they can do to make Scotland a cleaner, greener place. Whether at home, at work or in the community, we all need to consider how we – and the people we live and work with – could be greener, and how what we do can affect Scotland’s environment now and in the future. Taking action now will help make Scotland cleaner and greener for all. You can get involved by taking action and by visiting Greener Scotland for more information and advice. Here is a video clip of the interactive recycling project.


Recently we came across Gizmag. It is a great source for keeping up with new technology relevant to climate change. Products from zero net energy homes, eco-driving smart phone applications, and much more. A new app for iPhone users is EcoSpeed. Simply input the starting location and destination and it will tell you the best route to take to get the greatest fuel-efficiency. This includes optimal driving speed, least congested route to take, and the route with the least amount of stop lights.

For built environment the CHIP house was revealed. CHIP stands for ‘Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype’. It generates 3 times the amount of energy it needs and is built with intuitive features that automatically turn on and off electronics based on your movements.

“The rebound effect”

An article in The Guardian by Sylvia Rowley, suggests the presence of a “rebound effect” when it comes to reducing carbon emissions or cutting back on energy consumption. The theory combines simple economic and behavioural theories. Savings experienced in one area may be transferred to another area. For instance as energy costs go down from improved home insulation or cost of fuel decrease from greater fuel efficiency, a consumer may turn the heat up one more degree, or drive more, thus increasing their carbon footprint. People may often experience a “moral licensing”, where they feel if they do a little good, it’s ok to do a little bad. A study mentioned in the article stated that the “34% reduction in greenhouse gases” was reversed when consumers re-spent the money saved on other goods.

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