Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Action oriented approach for Sustainable Behavior

Dear All, 

Awareness to Action Model - Gurudas Nulkar

When we started working on our project on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune, we met a lot of citizen groups who were keen to adopt sustainable lifestyles, but due to lack of access to appropriate services or lack of knowledge about sustainable practices or limited motivation....many could not undertake actions towards sustainable behaviors. Given the fact that if we decide, we can achieve anything, we wanted to explore what are the problems/barriers that people are facing in order to undertake Sustainable Behaviors. 

When we met Gurudas Nulkar an expert in Environmental Sustainability from Ecological Society, he explained us the concept of Awareness to Action. In our December event on Sustainably SMART Pune 2030  he very well articulated the overall concept. 

Yesterday Gurudas Nulkar undertook a brainstorming session on creating a model for any issue where people are aware about the issues to an extent, yet there is no effective action towards resolving the same. So, along with a few members of Jeevitnadi we brainstormed on using the concept for enabling sustainable behaviors or Pro Environment Behaviors (PEB). Gurudas Nulkar stressed that policy alone may not be always helpful in creating change in the society, but a collective action driven by the citizens can definitely lead to change in the society. 

According to Gurudas Nulkar, behavioral change is linked to the following aspects - Awareness, Attitude, Barriers and Benefits along with Enablers. Let us see all these aspects in brief. 

Awareness, in this world of Google, awareness about any topic like climate change or pollution is not an issue, however the issue lies in knowing that am I the cause of the problem and I am the one who can help resolve the same. Awareness about sustainable actions is missing. Many a times, we all know climate change is happening, there's a lot of pollution etc etc...but we are not aware about individual or community actions to mitigate the same. Based on the awareness levels, socio economic strata of the society, age and gender etc, we can design an awareness strategy for the target groups.  

Attitude is an important aspect for any behavioral change, some of us have a very negative or indifferent attitude towards a lot of issues in our city. For e.g. public transport is looked down due to lack of proper buses, frequency, time of travel, etc...in spite of knowing that public transport is pro environment or climate friendly, we end up taking our own vehicle for daily commute. Our indifferent attitude is in a way hindering us from undertaking the sustainable behaviors. Our attitudes many a times are also influenced by certain good practices, or some habits that are pro environment. Can we as individuals give thought to our attitudes, can we be more responsible, fair or take the initiative in the above case an initiative of using the public transport and advocating for the same for all good by creating pressure groups will certainly help in getting a better transport facility.  

Mapping and analyzing the Barriers that may be in the form of cultural, social, economical, political or personal and the Benefits in the form of financial, non-financial, social, status related, moral, or selfless is very important to understand. There is need to reduce these barriers by changing our attitudes and raising or creating barriers for unsustainable practices. For instance if water supply is reduced to only two hours a day, we tend to use water cautiously, whereas if its available for 24 hrs we don't really bother about our usage. 
Similarly raising the benefits may be in the form of a financial gain or as a source of income generation is very effective and should be advocated. Newspaper recycling is a classic example of a  win-win situation. Important to note that any benefits accrued from any unsustainable practices should be demotivated. In order to achieve these various Enablers like the central, state or local bodies or community watch dogs, social groups or religious values can play a crucial role. 

Its easier to write about it or talk about it, but in practical its a difficult task but not impossible for sure. We need like minded people who would like to participate in creating such action oriented strategies that can help result into more and more pro environment or sustainable behaviors and lead us to sustainable cities and communities. 

Pournima Agarkar. 

PS. Members who attended the session, please feel free to give your inputs. 


Arun Bandi said...

A word on attitude

Everyone defends his attitude as per his own personal way of comfort levels he is used to.

with availability,affordability and mechanization,coupled with need to reach in time at place of work/need,the necessity of own vehicle is increasing .this is adding to environmental /pollution factors.

an out of box pattern could save/improve the situation.

An institution or a mfg organisation or a school /college and places of entertainment/market place are the destinations where more no of people go.Public transport leading ,nearest to such places should have the "YULU"type bicycles available to go to there places ,(more probably free) or with minimal charges.So long distances are covered with public transport and nearest short distances are covered with these bicycles.

on the same above lines ,terminuses of public transport be provided with huge place of parking and thereafter use of least expensive two or three wheeler round trip services with least charges be made available.

This pattern be started as an experimental solution and then the lacunae in opertions may be corrected wherever needed.

Alternatively there needs to be a change of mindset in thinking about the conventional type of parking to be changed to /replaced by "merry go round type "vertical parking for our future needs.

I am interested to participate in solving the traffic related problems .pl inform theplaces/forums where regular discussions rake place
Arun Bandi

Pournima Agarkar said...

Thanks for the concern Arun Sir,
if you are interested in resolving traffic issues, you can contact Parisar organisation.
They are very active in this sector.