On October 5, a small contingent from Moravian College traveled to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for the summit “BE.Hive on Campus: Climate Change Needs Behavior Change,” which was hosted by Dickinson College and Rare, a global nonprofit dedicated to advancing behavioral change around the world for the purposes of environmental conservation and sustainability.
Senior Joshua Osowiecki, Natasha Woods, assistant professor of biology, and Carol Moeller, assistant professor of philosophy (all pictured above), enjoyed a full day of presentations and discussions, emceed by actor Ravi Patel. Speakers included the following:
- Brett Jenks, president and CEO of Rare
- Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods (think Impossible Burger)
- Tim Ma, executive chef at American Son restaurant in Washington, D.C., who is also expert in food waste reduction
- Kavita Shula, founder of Fresh Paper, which keeps produce fresh longer, reducing food waste
- Chris Graves, founder of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science
- Adam Seth Levine, associate professor in the department of government at Cornell University, who spoke on building relationship that increase political will and how to motivate people to take action
- Ashley Whillans, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School
- Erik Thulin, a behavioral scientist at Rare
“The conference was packed with passionate people and thoughtful ideas. It was optimistic and energetic,” says Osowiecki. “And the concepts on the need to change behavior to effectively move climate action forward were truly innovative and inspiring,”
That behavioral change underlies all effective and lasting outcomes was the key message of the summit. “The summit focused on the behaviors individuals could adopt, and at the end of the day, everyone committed to at least one of the top seven actions for reducing carbon emissions [see “Be a Little Revolutionary” below],” says Woods, who teaches environmental science at Moravian and whose experience at BE.Hive on Campus has provided fodder for her teaching and her scholarship.
The key factors that influence an individual’s position on the environment are political affiliation, belief in climate change, and social influence with social influence having the greatest effect.
For Osowiecki, the summit delivered new ideas on how change happens, what makes it stick, and ways we can work individually and together for a healthy environment. “I am so grateful for this experience that gave me the privilege of meeting such revolutionary people and allowed me to better form my opinions on so many important topics,” says Osowiecki who at the end of the day chose of the seven behaviors for reducing carbon emissions to become engaged.
Be a Little Revolutionary
Even though the United States has backed out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement if 10 percent of Americans adopted all of the following behaviors, we could get back on track with our carbon emission reduction goals.
- Adopt a more plant-based diet
- Contract for green energy
- Buy carbon offsets
- Don’t waste food
- Purchase electric vehicles
- Fly one less time
- Get engaged: become informed about issues facing the environment; talk about this issues with peers, family, experts; take whatever actions you can to reduce negative impact on the environment
—Natasha Woods, assistant professor of biology, who committed to following a more plant-based diet.