Peeing on target and recycling your cans and glass are simple tasks, but they’re surprisingly difficult for most of us (most women don’t seem to have problems with the first, but the cleanliness of men’s urinals indicates they’re not having such an easy time), so some environmentalists are using the “nudge theory” to make it easier, and more fun. The theory goes that instead of hitting consumers over the head with policies and consequences (taxes, fees and fines, for example), they’ll be more likely to adopt eco-friendly behaviors if they’re given small incentives and rewards.
The BBC’s video, Climate Connection: “Nudge” Theory, explains how the concept works, using the example of men peeing in urinals to demonstrate. Normally, men tend to miss target and make a mess out of public restrooms, but when a decorative fly is printed on the inside of the urinal, their aim becomes a lot more accurate, reducing the need for cleanup (and making bathrooms a lot more pleasant, we would imagine). The concept can be applied to tasks like recycling (making a game out of recycle drop-offs increased the use of stations in Stockholm) and using alternative transportation (rewarding commuters for biking to work, rather than taxing them for driving).
We can’t embed the video, but it’s worth watching for the good ideas about how to change your own behavior and others. What are your best “nudge” ideas to push people towards eco-friendly lifestyles? Give us your best in the comments section, below.