Climate change is something that affects all of us whether you believe in it or not. According to researchers, climate change is irreversible, but it is stoppable (. How can we get the average person to start reducing their effect on our environment? Using social change research we can combat this problem. One type of social change research that I think will be really effective in this situation is activist research. Activist research includes finding solutions to a specific issue and pushing certain values during that process (n.d.). To combat climate change we must start researching, finding solutions, and instilling values to ensure long-term change.
The research has already been done concerning the negative effects climate change has on our planet. Knowing this why do we continue to behave in ways that harm our planet? The first step is to research the motivation behind our behavior which will make it easier for scientists to find ways for everyone to do their part. For example, is that we are just lazy or does it cost more money to behave in ways that reduce our carbon footprint. Once they pinpoint the motivation behind our behavior. the question becomes how should we target these behaviors?
What wide-reaching, social change will it take for people to start reducing their carbon footprint? Germany led an initiative that encouraged people to start recycling plastic water bottles frequently. They gave 25 cents for every water bottle someone recycled. Recycling 12 plastic bottles every week will leave a person with156 euros at the end of the year (Bariso, 2016). Germany made it even easier for people by having a water bottle return machine in every grocery store (Bariso, 2016). If the U.S. took up this social change idea we could definitely make a big difference.
Even if we implement the same change that Germany started, how do we encourage people to take that to other parts of their life? This is where values come in to play. We need to push a certain set of values and ideas through our social change research to make ensure lasting change. Without clear motivation for their actions, people can easily become disheartened and stop their good behavior. I think the value we need to encourage is to leave the world in good shape for future generations. This will strike a chord for most people since they wouldn’t want to leave their kids or grandkids on an uninhabitable planet.
In conclusion, we need to research the motivation behind our actions, implement solutions, and encourage certain values through social change. A majority of Americans say they care about climate change, but we still have not incited enough social change to make a significant impact (. Using activist research we can reduce the impact the population has on the environment. Paying people to recycle water bottles is one possible solution to our issue. Then, we need to encourage certain values to make sure people continue with the good behavior.
Canvas Learning Management System. (n.d.). https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1973019/modules/items/25635746
Bariso, Justin. November, 2016). “Germany Figured Out the Single Best Way to Get People to Recycle.” https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/germany-figured-out-the-single-best-way-to-get-people-to-recycle.html