Raising awareness for environmental issues – No sure-fire-success:
Long-lasting improvements in environmental protection will only happen if as many people as possible change their approach, whether in a company or on a personal level. But can you bring about your colleagues or family members to be constantly aware of the topic and what principles must be taken into account when doing so?
Arousing interest is the most important principle which should be heeded. Those interested who are also emotionally involved are more ready to absorb relevant information on the desired change in attitudes. The image of the apparently sad looking polar bear on an ice floe with the ice melting away under its paws because of the high CO2emissions and the climate change touches us and arouses our interest. Combined with a few facts and figures, the target group can be vividly informed about the fundamental problems.
But the polar bear is far away – so, what do I have to do with it? Personal concern and the ability to relate this to one’s own working or personal environment is also important. This is where a few vivid facts also help: “If I take the car to school every morning, I consume 150 litres of gasoline per year and generate in the process 400 kg CO2. If all the students in your school do this, this already amounts to 400,000 kg CO2.”
Now the ground is prepared for bringing across specific conduct recommendations. The person targeted now has some information on the global situation and can imagine from some figures as to what impact one’s own conduct can have and why this is relevant.
The conduct recommendation should be kept simple and feasible. It is best if this is also linked with a reward or if the target group realizes that it is worthwhile altering one’s attitude. “If you take the bike to school every day, you generate 0kg CO2 and are also fit for the next football game. I’ll use a part of the saved fuel costs to treat you to a crate of lemonade at our next home game.”
But we have to be realistic. Small children are still very open to specific conduct recommendations. The older the target group is, the longer it will take to achieve changes. Perseverance and different forms of communication are required. In addition to regularly conveyed tips, special campaigning days e.g. on electric mobility or playful puzzles are ideal for addressing colleagues or one’s own children. The most important environmental issues, such as major energy consumers and the associated conduct recommendations, could also be better visualized through the use of an environmental map. Furthermore, joint actions strengthen the awareness for the environment topic and can also be fun. A Bike Week for example, by means of which a realistic amount of emissions can be saved through a joint effort.
Finally, it is also important that the management of a company or the head of a household assumes a role model function and is not caught using the car for just 2 kilometres to fetch some rolls from the bakery.