Compassionate Systems presentation at SCARP

This is a talk I gave at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning in 2015. Panellists were behaviour change practitioners, and I was asked specifically about Community Based Social Marketing and the behaviour of water conservation.

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  • Joe+Clarkson July 28, 2021, 5:06 pm

    This was a great talk. Sorry I am so late in checking your site. You post far too rarely.

    Your behavior pyramid illuminates the folly in expecting everyone to suddenly pay attention to the state of the world and rise up to demand systemic change. Even those, like me, who pay far more attention than most to the issue of sustainability, seem to just “go with the flow” and let systemic structures guide our behavior more than we would like, even when we are aware of it happening.

    A prime example is plane travel. My wife and I live in Hawaii for perfectly sound reasons. My mother and my children’s families live in Portland, Oregon. There are structural reasons why the careers my son and daughter chose have led them there and my mother has lived in the same house since 1970, so they have perfectly good reasons for being there.

    We all fly across the Pacific to see each other at least once a year (except for my 92 year old mother). Shame on us, but unless we never are to be with each other again, we must use aircraft to do so. The last sailing passenger ship left Hawaii a long time ago and creating a public infrastructure that either allows sustainable travel methods or enables people to stay in the same small area for their entire lives is beyond the capability of any individual.

    And devoting much of my time to banging the drum for abandoning jet planes so we can return to sail would just be time wasted. No one would pay attention at all.

    • Ruben August 3, 2021, 1:51 am

      Thanks for reading Joe—I always find the gardening to be higher priority than the writing.

      In his book Heat, George Monbiot called what you are describing Love Miles.

      And yes, the implications of reality of human behaviour is a little depressing…


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