Climate change is a major challenge. But here at Cool Choices, we know we need everyone to be a part of the solution– so we need to make sustainability fun.
2018 has been a year of unprecedented storms and wildfires. Six in ten Americans say that they are worried about global warming and nearly four in ten assert that they have already experienced the effects of global warming. At the same time, national networks like We Are Still In and America’s Pledge are bringing together business and civic leaders to showcase ambitious efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
All of that creates a strong sense of urgency: we need to do much more, a lot faster to mitigate climate change so that we—much less our children—can continue to thrive.
So why are we talking about fun?
It Takes Everyone
To meet the serious and significant climate challenges facing us, we need all hands on deck. We need to engage everybody. And the research is clear: if you want to make change happen at scale, you need to eliminate barriers (make it easy), leverage social norms (make it social), and demonstrate that adopting the change is beneficial (make it fun, or at least pleasant).
In our experience most sustainability advocates appreciate the need for easy and social solutions. Fun is a harder sell. Sustainability is a serious issue, so when we talk about fun, some folks are skeptical. In our view, though, this is a quest to engage everyone. That means we need to offer people a way to feel good about joining the effort.
We Need Fun
Even when advocates appreciate the need for fun, they’re often skeptical that we can deliver it. After all, we want people to waste less and to pay attention to the details—how is any of that going to be fun?
Sustainability advocates can make it fun to be part of the solution by celebrating the actions of “regular” folks. Showcasing good deeds, thanking people for being part of the solution, and providing random rewards and recognition for their efforts make participants feel appreciated for doing the right thing. Advocates can make efforts even more fun by facilitating competitions or collaborations that enable folks to work in teams and to see how their actions add up.
Our world is facing significant challenges. Together we can achieve amazing results—especially if we make it fun for others to be part of the solution.
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