Events we have been involved in since September 2012, and a few highlights from before...
Some of the leading economic and environmental thinkers will convene for the Schumacher Institute's event in Bristol to explore austerity, debt, growth and human development in 2013 – particularly in light of environmental and resource stress.
The conference will be structured around the four headings used by Schumacher in ‘Small is Beautiful’. David Fell will be speaking about resources, concentrating, in particular, on the demand side: what scope is there to encourage or compel citizens to make more sustainable choices? And how do such choices relate to ‘austerity’?
For the full event listing see: http://www.schumacherinstitute.org.uk/alternatives-to-austerity
From October 9th-11th, 2013, the Smart CSOs Lab hosted the Civil Society in Transition Conference in Cologne, Germany. Change agents from civil society, academia and the funding community came together to share and develop new approaches and strategies for how civil society can become and be a driving force for the Great Transition to a truly just society living within ecological limits.
The conference agenda is available here.
Re-dreaming the Future was a session presented by David Fell and Sara Giorgi from Brook Lyndhurst as part of NESTA's FutureFest. It combined presentations, real-time opinion surveys, group discussion and playing with children’s toys as it invited participants to dream a future as if we were still young. Over the course of the weekend, an economy was dreamt up: one capable of delivering sustainability and joy – for you, for everyone you know, and for the planet itself. Some of our reflections on the experiment with Lego at FutureFest can be found here.
Charlotte Lee-Woolf presented the results of several studies we have recently conducted on product lifetimes and re-use at the Scottish Government today, as part of a series of internal workshops on climate change for policy teams and researchers.
She began with an overview of public attitudes towards product lifetimes and durability, based on a qualitative study conducted for Defra in 2010. This led onto a discussion about a research project for Zero Waste Scotland, which used three case study areas in and around Edinburgh to explore how local service provision influences public engagement with re-use services. In the final part of the session, Charlotte discussed the role of communications tools to maximise re-use and repair behaviours, based on research recently completed for WRAP
United Against WasteJune 2013
Cutting-edge social science can make a vital contribution to policy on energy and climate change. This event, sponsored by the BSA Climate Change Study Group, promoted knowledge sharing between researchers and the policy community on the social dimensions of these urgent issues.
Delegates had the opportunity to hear new researchers present the latest findings on topics related to energy and climate, such as: social networks and communities; the diffusion and adoption of innovations; public understanding and participation; future scenarios and the politics of uncertainty; environmental narratives and discourses; and attitudes, behaviours and practices around sustainability.
Responses were provided by key members of the policy community, including Matt Lipson from DECC, Robbie Craig from Defra and David Fell, founder-director of research and strategy consultants Brook Lyndhurst.
The London Plan – strategic planning or micro management?April 2013
A new version of the London Plan is being drafted for 2014. This first event by Future of London for Future London Leaders considered the plan's role and purpose, and its relationship to London borough policies and programmes.
Though there were no formal presentations - instead people were encouraged to come armed with thoughts, ideas and experiences to share with the group - discussion was mediated and provoked by David Fell of Brook Lyndhurst.
Catchbox launch eventsMarch 2013
Brook Lyndhurst is working alongside SeaWeb - an international NGO dedicated to communicating ocean sustainability issues - to undertake a piece of action-based research (ABR) on the issue of ‘under-utilised’ species.
Sara, Sylviane and Geoff helped out and conducted some research at the launch events for Catchbox in Chichester and Brighton (click here to see our blog about these events). The events were designed to raise awareness and encourage people to sign up to the scheme ahead of the first deliveries in April 2013. The research will help the scheme going forward, particularly in terms of understanding the potential audience better, and what people might find off-putting about the project.
Find out more about our role on the project here.
David Fell was on the panel, debating: "Eco-schemes: Can Environmental Sustainability be Integrated into the Market?"
Fellow speakers were Dr Colin Provost, Director of Environmental Governance at the UCL Environment Institute; Paul Hackett, Director of the Smith Institute; and Susanne Baker, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Advisor at the EEF.
Against a difficult and persistent financial backdrop, the policy landscape for sustainable development has changed in many ways in recent years. This year’s Sustainable Development Research Network Annual Conference will focus on the challenges posed by the new landscape, for both policy makers and researchers. Key to the discussion will be the role of evidence in enabling decision-makers to navigate the overlaps and trade-offs implied by austerity.
Speaking in the afternoon session “What Works?”, David Fell will be drawing on Brook Lyndhurst’s long track record of researching and evaluating sustainability initiatives. He will also be referring to the importance of language, culture and narrative in shaping what counts as ‘evidence’ and the power of stories and myth in transmitting the kinds of truths that enable people to take better action in the future. There may well be a slide that quotes Gore Vidal: “It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true”.
As more details of the Green Deal and the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) emerge, this conference looked ahead to implementation in 2013 and what it means for local authorities. There are still many questions to answer, and providing clear and accurate information on the Green Deal and ECO for local residents will be one of the first challenges. The conference will draw together existing experience of promoting energy efficiency measures and will offer research on customer behaviour and attitudes to help local authorities work with local partners to promote take-up of the Green Deal.
Brook Lyndhurst’s David Fell, together with the Energy Savings Trust, ran a workshop at the conference. The workshop - Consumers, concept and communication – gave EST an opportunity to relay some of their expertise with Green Deal so far; while David discussed some of the findings from Brook Lyndhurst’s recent research for DECC into how people actually use gas in their homes.
Following the publication of the European Parliament's Food Information for Consumers Regulation (FIR) in 2011, this seminar focused on the direction of food labelling policy in the UK. With nutritional labelling regulations due to apply from 2016, and ongoing research on how nutritional information should be presented, the seminar included discussions on whether nutritional information should be used on Front-of-Pack (FOP) labelling moving forward.
London's Mayor is setting a 2020 vision to be completed by the end of 2012. As part of the process of developing this vision, the GLA, Cap Gemini and London Sustainability Exchange hosted an event on 12th October to consider some of the big issues. David Fell spoke at the event, focusing in particular on London’s health and well-being. He revisited his 2006 work that showed how the wrong kind of employment growth can bring about a sicker city.
The presentation will be available from this page soon.
The Fabian Society and Unilever hosted a roundtable event at this year’s Labour Party Conference in Manchester entitled ‘Revaluing food: Shifting the narrative on food waste’. The Fabian Society launched their new report ‘Revaluing Food’, to which David Fell contributed. David attended the roundtable and presenting his case for a programme of in-store advice to shoppers on food waste minimisation.
The report is available for download here.
Somerset Waste Partnership's conference brought together community groups from across the county to invite them to become partners in the “Green Routine”, a new waste prevention programme starting in January 2013. Building on a successful pilot in 2011, the programme will focus on a specific waste prevention activity each month – like November’s “gadget control” to encourage people to pass on and reuse electrical equipment. Groups will inspire people in their communities to get involved, and SWP will support with them with communications material and other engagement tools. Training will also be available to become Love Food Hate Waste partners and Compost Champions.
Jayne Cox of Brook Lyndhurst gave the keynote speech: "How to encourage waste prevention – learning lessons from UK projects and research to achieve behaviour change." (Slides for the keynote speech and breakout group on 'Methods and Tools for Communication' are available here)
For more information on Green Routine, visit http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/about/campaigns/conference/
The Second European Conference on Energy Efficiency and Behaviour (BEhavE 2012) took place on 20-21 September 2012, in Helsinki, Finland. The programme included speakers from across Europe and covered a spectrum of technological and behavioural approaches to improving energy efficiency. Geoff King presented some findings from our work with DECC on domestic energy use. An introduction to the presentation is available on page 52 of the abstracts book, and the slides are available here.
Together with the Resource Recovery Forum, Open University and Waste Watch, Brook Lyndhurst organised a conference which focused on examining the latest thinking and research in influencing resourceful behaviours, and relating this to future horizons for the waste and resources sector. The conference brought together experts in the key aspects of understanding and influencing values, attitudes and behaviours.
Jayne Cox delivered a presentation on consumer understanding of product lifetimes and reuse. David Fell facilitated roundtable discussions on future actions to influence resourceful behaviours. The conference programme, slideshows of the presentations, and videos from the conference are all available here.
“We do not learn from experience… We learn from reflecting on experience.” (John Dewey) The strength of participatory action research (PAR) is that the role of the researcher includes being a facilitator of change. PAR seeks to understand the world while trying to change it, collaboratively and reflectively. In this blog, I briefly explore some [...]
Drawing distinctions between ‘change in attitude’, ‘change in behaviour’ and ‘one-off material change’ may miss out important pieces of the overall picture. The Energy Cultures team at CSAFE, have developed an ‘Energy Cultures Framework’. This framework brings together Cognitive norms (including attitudes), Practices (behaviour) and Material Culture, and suggests that these elements can all be interlinked and reinforce one another...
Alongside the questionnaire FutureFest goers were asked to reflect on what they wanted to be before growing up. Through playing with Lego we explored why participants wanted to be what it was they wanted to be and the barriers and enablers they had encountered along the way. 83 participants took part in our ‘experiment’. Collectively [...]