Friday, 17 February 2012

The Fun Theory

Before the recent meeting of the CCC group, Matt Hocking, Director of the Leap graphic design agency, sent us a link to this short video:

The video demonstrates the principle that fun can be a powerful motivator for behaviour change. In this example, people are encouraged to choose the stairs over the escalator. When making that choice, they are unaware of the environmental and health benefits of their choice, thinking only of their desire to experience walking on the novel piano-stairs. Of course, this example may be a short-term benefit, but it demonstrates a valuable principle that could be applied to other climate change-related communications. It may be that your message does not need to be communicated directly - people can be encouraged to change their behaviour for reasons that are different to, but compatible with, your intentions.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Feedback from The Business of CCC

We are extremely grateful for your feedback after the meeting on the 24th Jan – it is paramount to the development of the forum.

The event was seen as a really good opportunity to get a dialogue going between academics and businesses. A number of delegates found it useful to gain a better understanding of processes and activities occurring outside their current specialisms and sectors.

It was felt that more time was necessary for more productive networking, and we will ensure that this is the case in future sessions. In addition to this we would like to explore different ways to capitalise on the huge potential in the room and build on really stimulating, creative thinking.

The challenges and opportunities that Climate Change brings are vast. We are keen to continue investigating together how communication and innovative application of technology can, and must, be used to share and transmit information.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Group discussions from CCC business meeting

It was great to have such a varied audience at the workshop and discussions around some very interesting-sounding research proposals. It felt like a valuable chance to bring businesses and academics together to consider how heightened awareness of climate change achieved through innovative communication methods could bring mutual benefits to both the business and research agendas.

All delegates attending represented one of three ‘roles’:
1) Message - Organisations with a product or service related to sustainability or low carbon.
2) Transmit - Organisations expert in communication – such as marketing, media, design agencies.
3) Study - Researchers and Academics from across the Peninsula.

Delegates were asked to form groups to discuss communication needs and dissemination methods, in relation to climate change. The task was to establish how enhanced communication could impact on organisations where climate change is a driver for their business (e.g. renewables, sustainable transport, waste treatment). To do so, the identification of the organisation’s key audience/s was crucial. The aim was to provide a platform for discussions around innovative problem solving, drawing on the breadth of experience and skills of the delegates - bringing businesses, academics and community groups together.

Having reviewed the videos and worksheets from the event, we are pleased to present some brief summaries of each group's outcomes. It was quite challenging to summarise some of the complex ideas expressed, so any amendments or clarification from group members would be welcomed.

We would also welcome further discussions of these ideas. Comments can be left on this post, or contact us directly here:

Group 1: Community-level energy decisions

Message Communities can take responsibility for their energy needs at a local level. While political decisions are often short-term, local communities can consider long term needs.

Audience Business and domestic energy users, within communities (at a local parish scale).

Transmission method Appeal to local advocates, encourage them to set up monthly meetings. Show what individuals stand to gain through independent energy security.

Idea for supporting study Social theory study - on deliberative democracy. Take Japanese model of community-level decision-making on waste disposal, and study how and whether such models might be used in other societies, such as within Cornwall.

Group 2: The complete carbon footprint of food

Message The carbon emissions caused by food production - from supply chain to preparation and cooking.

Audience Young families and manufacturers

Transmission method Multi-channel: TV, internet, radio. Celebrity-based? Tie in with schools. Give cooking instructions, but with break-out points to show the source of food. Children then influence decision-making within families.

Idea for supporting study Monitoring supermarket behaviour. Will the campaign influence what they do?

Group 3: Lifetime carbon emissions for buildings

Message The majority of carbon emissions from a building are produced at a low level throughout their lifespan - not just during the building phase itself.

Audience Builders and developers, but also Cornwall Council. Individuals that use buildings tend to understand more than decision-makers do at the moment.

Transmission method Begin by studying the audience, to avoid wasting money by not targetting them properly. After this, a media company can be involved, and should use multiple media channels rather than isolating one.

Idea for supporting study Study of information wastage - what information is being transmitted, and what is wasted? Also possibilities for narrative research - harnessing the power of individual's stories to affect and engage.

Group 4: Experiment: low carbon communities with health, wealth and happiness

Message Experimenting or discussing larger issues is more important than communicating messages

Audience No audience as such, but the experiment would happen with small, local communities.

Transmission method -

Idea for supporting study How can we create wealth, health and happiness while lowering CO2, through local actions? Cornwall has low incomes and high happiness. The experiment would compare this with different communities around the globe - similar situation in parts of South America?

Group 5: involving communities in renewable energy projects

Message Local communities can influence the way they manage their energy needs. Projects such as wind turbine construction are able to generate income and energy security for the community.

Audience Potential energy users to begin with. As projects mature, they will need to engage members of community to make decisions on how to spend income from renewable energy projects.

Transmission method Local radio and websites (funded by income from projects?). Involve local schools and clubs/societies.

Idea for supporting study Could form the basis of a PhD project on behavioural change.

Group 6: Involving volunteers in battery recycling

Message Promoting involvement in volunteer-led battery and fluorescent light bulb recycling schemes. Minimal effort can provide large impacts.

Audience Potential advocates - those who already feel indignant about landfill of dangerous and/or valuable materials.

Transmission method Describe what it would be like without volunteer-led schemes. Market research on which message resonates more strongly: wasting valuable materials, or the potential effects of harmful toxins from landfill of batteries and fluorescent light bulbs. Encourage lobbying of government by organisations carrying out such projects.

Idea for supporting study Assessing the effects of educational packages for primary and secondary schools. These would cover energy, battery use, material recovery and product life cycles. Also, studies of the environmental impacts of landfill for batteries and fluorescent bulbs would be beneficial.

Group 7: Encouraging healthy and/or sustainable lifestyles

Message Creating healthy and sustainable communities, through healthy and/or sustainable lifestyles

Audience Children / NHS service users

Transmission method A range of media should be used - newsletters in church and hobby groups, but also new media for forum creation. Should be participatory - people are part of the process themselves.

Idea for supporting study Focus groups can be used to determine barriers to healthy lifestyles. What is stopping them from eating healthier food and doing exercise? The results of such studies can inform the project, making communication more specific and targetted.

Taking it further
Do you want to take one of these ideas further? Please contact:

Dr Will Stahl-Timmins -

Thursday, 2 February 2012

CCCbiz meeting

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health hosted an interdisciplinary business/academic event at the end of January 2012. The aim was to bring together creative and environmentally-focussed businesses in Cornwall with academics from across the Peninsula, to network and share ideas. The focus was to explore how enhanced communication methods and academic expertise could impact on organisations where climate change is a driver for their business (e.g. renewables, sustainable transport, waste treatment).

40 delegates attended, representing a great breadth of sectors and specialities. These people largely fitted into one of three areas:

1) Message - Organisations with a product or service related to sustainability or low carbon

2) Transmit - Organisations expert in communication – such as marketing, media, design agencies

3) Study - Researchers and academics from across the Peninsula with knowledge related to climate change communication

Many attendees provided examples of their work to assist with introducing them. These are provided below, by category:

Ella Westland
Community energy group (Transition St Goran)

Ella Westland was introduced using the above image, showing the first wind turbine installed by the community energy group (Transition St Goran), which she has been involved with. Links to two videos related to this are available here:

Mark Hatwood
CoBRA (Community Battery Recycling Alliance)

Mark Hatwood was introduced with the above image, showing the way that the CoBRA scheme gives volunteers the opportunity to assist in collecting batteries (and fluorescent light bulbs) from their community for recycling.

Hannah Bullock
Eden Project

Hannah Bullock chose to be introduced with the above image, from a Clear About Carbon project. This web tool can show the carbon dioxide impact behind everyday items and lifestyle choices. The tool is available here: What's Your Carbon Footprint?

Tom James
Senior Research and Evaluation Officer
Clear About Carbon

Tom James presented us with this image of the Carbon Literacy exhibit at the Eden Project. This has a brilliantly simple premise of showing the amount of CO2 produced by a range of objects and activities, relative to a journey in a Smart car. The objects within the car are all labelled with different quantities, making it easy to compare different amounts.

Michael Westley
Westley Design

Michael Westley asked to be introduced with this image - showing an impression of the Barton Orchard development in South Devon. It features earth sheltered houses, with passive heating through optimal orientation, photovoltaic solar panels on partially green roofs, and many other sustainable innovations.

Abraham Cambridge
Technical and Commercial Director
Renewable Energy Co-operative (R-ECO)

This image shows the recently completed R-ECO 75kW roof integrated solar energy system at Heartlands in Poole. Heartlands is a social regeneration project for the Camborne-Pool-Redruth region, and the visitors centre for the newly appointed World Heritage status of Cornish Tin Mining.

Rachel Gaunt
Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects

Rachael sent in this image of the island of Tresco, in the Isles of Scilly. They wanted to highlight the need for communicating choices today on architectural designs that must last 50 years or more.

Terence Bourton
Ocean Housing

Ocean Housing is a Registered Social Landlord with a stock of some 2700 general needs homes and 725 sheltered properties throughout Cornwall.

Robert Woolf
Sea Communications

Robert Woolf provided this image showing their Stop The Traffik project. This allows users to post and share information about potential traffiking incidents that they have witnessed - allowing evidence from different geographical locations to be brought together to monitor and control illegal human traffiking.

Andrew Clappison
Communications Manager

Comms Consult were introduced with the above image, showing the wide range of communication-related services that the business offers - including communication strategies, information management, training and workshops, multimedia and monitoring/evaluation.

Caroline Robinson
Cartographer & Designer
Clear Mapping Company

Clear Mapping specialise in locational, directional and route maps for businesses in the South-West of England.

Matt Hollands
Sam White


MPAD offers a range of marketing, public relations, advertising and design services to a variety of clients with the aim of helping them communicate effectively with their customers. They also have a commitment to reducing their impact on the environment.

Martin Jackson
Journalist and Copywriter

Martin sent this image for his introduction - the cover of a book he was commissioned to write about the design and build of the Eden Project to mark its opening. He describes his professional interest - and personal pleasure - to be storytelling.

Matt Hocking
Design for Change (LEAP)

Leap are a graphic design agency with strong environmental and social commitments. Matt spent 3 years as the head of graphics for Eden, and since 2004 has been running Leap - where the mission is no less than "changing the world through design".

Robert Rush
Managing Director
PFA Research Ltd

PFA supply market intelligence to allow their clients to evaluate, quantify and address their market and customers. The services they provide include interviews, focus groups, mystery shopping, and postal, online or telephone surveys.

Dr Will Stahl-Timmins
Associate Research Fellow
European Centre for Environment and Human Health

Will's research involves the presentation of environment and human health data using information graphics. One current project involves the presentation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) impacts report in different formats (graphical and textual) to assess the effects on public understanding of climate science.

Amy Nettley
PhD student
University of Exeter

Amy Nettley's doctoral research explores how 3D animations can help local communities understand the effects of climatic change on the landscape of the Tamar Valley.

Shukru Esmene
PhD Student
European Centre for Environment and Human Health

Shukru's doctoral project explores 'knowledge waste' between different stakeholders involved with electric cars. The project is a collaboration between the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and a Cornish business, Eco-drive.

Prof Mike Wilson
Sarah Chapman
Francesca Booker

Project ASPECT
University College Falmouth

ASPECT uses digital video recording technology to gather stories from across the UK - putting climate change into the context of our everyday lives.

Dr Nick Bearman
Associate Research Fellow
European Centre for Environment and Human Health

Nick's research interests include communication through mapping techniques such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS). He has also used sound and cartograms to communicate particular aspects of spatial data.

Katharina Kaesehage
PhD student
University of Exeter

Katharina's doctoral research aims to help businesses understand the cultural and physical context of climate change. Her project is supported by the European Social Fund, focussing on the maritime business sector.

Dr Daro Montag
Associate Professor of Art & Environment
University College Falmouth

As an artist and lecturer, Dr Montag tries to raise awareness of environmental issues, in particular the combined impacts of climate change and peak oil. He leads a research group, RANE, and an MA in Art & Environment. The image he showed was of a biochar furnace - a method of carbon sequestering, related to one of his art projects.

Carolyn Arnold
PhD Student
University College Falmouth

Carolyn's doctoral project investigates storytelling as a paradigm for promoting pro-environmental behaviour, exploring the effects of perceived social norms on business attitudes towards sustainability.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Talking Climate

Some excellent links to research on the communication of climate change are available here:

Talking Climate is a UK-based part­ner­ship between the Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN), the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC) and the ‘Climate change as com­plex social issue’ research group at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, Nottingham University.

Project ASPECT videos online

Several videos from Project Aspect at University College Falmouth are now online. They are inspiring stories of individual people's efforts to deal with changes at a community level: