Sustainable Behavior Foray Tasks

Step 1. Breaking (your) Bad: Observe & Reflect on your Current Behavior

Spend this week observing yourself doing the behavior you want to change. Being mindful and aware of the conditions and reasons you engage in a specific behavior may give you insight into ways to successfully change that behavior.

This post is all about self-awareness and saying goodbye to your old (bad) habits. Reflect upon the context under which you engage in the behavior you want to change and think about devising strategies for successful behavior change (this will come in handy down the road. Do you do this behavior more when you are in a hurry? Stressed out? Tired? With friends? Alone? Because everyone else is? Because it tastes wonderful?

Next, learn from those who have gone before you. Do a little outside research into what behavioral scientists find to be driving the behaviors you want to change. Go to the Library Website, hit up a search engine/database (Science Direct College Edition is my favorite), and find one article that studies the behavior you are changing to bring into and discuss in your blog post. You will find diverse studies, but some might, for example, 1) Examine things that determine your less-than-sustainable behavior (e.g. What are factors that influence high water usage?) or 2) Identify barriers to changing your behavior (e.g. People don't drive less because they don't perceive that it impacts the problem of climate change).

So: Eat your last piece of bacon. Take a long, hot, luxurious shower. And then say goodbye.

Requirements for your Step 1 Post (6.25 points):

  • Write a 300-500 word blog entry reflecting on this process.
  • Insert an image to accompany your post.
  • Address and discuss one scientific article that examines the behavior you want to change. Make sure to cite the article in your text (Author, year) and include a full reference at the bottom of your blog post.
  • Assign your post to the "Step 1" category.
  • Publish this entry by Tuesday, April 14 by 8:00 pm.  

Step 2. New Life: Start your New Sustainable Behavior

Today is the day. You’ve accepted the challenge. For the next several weeks you will engage in a new, more sustainable behavior. As you start your new behavior this week, observe yourself and reflect broadly upon the impact of this behavior change on your day-to-day life. Also, address more specifically the environmental implications of your behavior change so that your readers understand the impact that challenge might have. To do this, find and link to a web-based resource that specifically addresses the potential sustainability implications of your behavior change.

Some questions that you might consider in this post:

  • What was the hardest thing this week about changing your behavior? What was the best, most positive thing?
  • What impact has this behavior change had on you, thus far?

Requirements for your Step 2 Post (6.25 points):

  • Write a 300-500 word blog post.
  • Insert an image to accompany your post.
  • Link to a website or web-based resource that specifically addresses the sustainability implications of your behavior change (e.g. How much carbon might be reduced? How much water might you save?)
  • Assign your post to the "Step 2" category.
  • Publish this entry by Tuesday April 21st by 8:00 pm.  

Step 3. A Little Help from Your Friends: Creating a Community

We’re in the homestretch, folks. You are about to enter the last weeks of the SBF, which also means we’re in the final weeks of the semester. As we all slog through to the finish, we’ll need a little help from our friends. For this post, I’m going to be putting you in sustainable behavior communities with people in the class that are undertaking a similar behavioral change. Behavioral research finds that creating social norms that support behavior change is critical to success. Basically, we need to change our own social context to support sustainability, not just our own behavior.

For this post, please do the following:

By Sunday, April 26th @ 8:00 pm you need to:

  • Categorize all your past posts with your assigned group category. 

By Thursday, April 30th @ 10:00 pm you need to:

  • Read the past posts from all of the members in your SBF group.
  • Comment on at least one post for each of the members in your SBF group. Think about how others in your group have had similar or different experiences. What made the experience different or the same for them or for you? This is a time to commiserate, cheer people on, and discuss common challenges and benefits you’ve experienced.

By Tuesday, May 5th @ 8:00 pm you need to:

  • Write a post reflecting on the process of forming a community around your sustainable behavior change. First, reflect on commonalities or differences in your experiences, barriers, tactics for change, etc. Then, reflect on the ways having a community (though a bit ephemeral and formal) influenced or didn’t influence the way you viewed your experiences in the SBF.

Requirements for your Step 3 Post (6.25 points):

  • Categorize your posts by Sunday, April 26th by 8:00 pm
  • Comment on at least one post from all of your SBF group by Thursday, April 30th by 10:00 pm
  • Write a 300-500 word blog post.
  • Insert an image to accompany your post.
  • Assign your post to the "Step 3" category and your assigned SBF group category.
  • Publish this entry by Tuesday, May 5th by 8:00 pm.

Step 4. Reflecting on your Sustainable Behavior Foray: What does it MEAN?!?

In your final blog post, you will contemplate the broader meaning of your experience with the ENVS 130 Sustainable Behavior Foray. Through reflecting upon your experiences and connecting with discussions in class, you will develop an argument concerning your view on the role of individual behavior change in promoting positive environmental change.

  • How did your experiences in the SBF affect your view of your own capacity to promote environmental change? Do you feel more empowered to be an agent of change? Do you feel frustrated and constrained by elements currently outside of your control? Or maybe this was “just an assignment” and you didn’t feel anything at all?
  • What might be the relationship between individual behavior and political influence/action?

Requirements for your Step 4 Post (6.25 points):

  • Write a 300-500 word blog post.
  • Insert an image to accompany your post.
  • Assign your post to the "Step 4" category and your assigned SBF group category.
  • Publish this entry by Tuesday, May 12th at 8:00 pm.