So the Leicester Award is in full swing now and I can say its been quite rewarding so far – even only 2 weeks in! I chose Environmental Volunteering for my 25 hours and as part of that I have attended two sustainability workshops held by the Environment Team.
As a geographer, I thought I knew all there is to know about sustainability, however the workshops provided me with new knowledge and insight into the concept. In particular I got to see sustainability from a variety of angles and perspectives and learnt the best way to change people’s behaviour to become more sustainable. In order to influence people to live more sustainably, in any aspect, it is useful to leave out the topic of ‘helping the environment’ altogether, since there is a lot of negativity associated with ‘green’ and ‘environmental’ and instead focus on how it will benefit them, in any way shape or form.
This website we were shown ‘The Fun Theory‘ demonstrates this really well, with examples of how making an activity fun causes people to change their behaviour subconsciously, e.g. to put their litter in the bin.
We also thought about the problems with getting society to embrace sustainability, including resistance to change and lack of knowledge. We considered the logistics of trying to become more sustainable in the university, and designed a plan to improve an aspect of sustainability, looking at what message to tell the target group to encourage a change.
I think the workshops have been really useful for the Environmental Action Society, in planning our campaigns to change student lifestyles, as well as in my course. The module Environment and Development is very interlinked with the concept of sustainability for example – how development policy, influences environmental management practices, how the idea of ‘environment and sustainability’ has become highly important in recent decades and for major economic and social development, the motives of key global players and the consequences for the environment.
In addition to the workshops I have begun a course of online e-workshops which take a few hours of my week and are very flexible to complete. One very useful activity was to evaluate my current skills and look at what I need to improve on by the end of the year. In the introductory session, I set goals for this term and learnt the best way to set and achieve these goals. My goal is to improve my presentation skills since this is my weakest skill and something I would really like to work on!
To find out more about the Leicester Award check this out 🙂