Environmental optimism increases eco-friendly behavior
This revamped eco-version of chutes and ladders (above) encourages environmental action through fun.
The people of the environmental movement are realizing that it takes more than worrisome facts about climate change to affect public behavior. To really provoke change, an attitude of empowered optimism may be the most effective.
Eco Action Games is a UK-based initiative supported by the London Sustainable Development Commission. Paula Owen devised the plan to transform well-known party games into informative and fun activities about environmental topics.
A game-mentality taps into well-honed circuits of effort and reward in the human psyche. With the added social dimension, these games help create positive associations between participants and environmental subjects. This positive orientation will likely motivate more change than fear and guilt.
Child psychologists theorize that most children are born with an instinctual optimism that is crucial for learning. Without confidence that their efforts will bear fruit, a person has little incentive to keep at it.
Although environmentalists have used this insight into human nature only relatively recently, it will likely influence many more eco-initiatives to come.