Here we share an example of a complicated, multi-faceted target action, and a simple one that can be done quickly and easily. Remeber, the main goal is behavior change, and every behavior has a cause. Many times the simplest solution is just ensuring people are aware that there are different ways they can do things.

Example 1: Complex

Step 1: Understand the Situation

After the city completes an analysis of needs and impact, Climate SWOT and scenarios, we com up with a Vision: A massive recycling, composting and repurposing maker space combined with a biogas digester make the city a zero-waste leader.

Step 2: Causing the Change

Target Action – Everyone is aware of, participates in, and benefits from the community waste repurposing center, and we get to Zero Waste in the city.

Climate – We have identified and eliminated non-recyclable materials from the economy, reducing emissions at the source. Keeping organic waste out of the waste stream reduces methane emissions at the landfills and increases productivity of local gardens. 

Economy – This is a community effort. There are jobs for collection, for informing people about how to improve their waste profile, and reusing and repurposing materials. The cost of waste collection and landfills have virtually been eliminated. The biogas digester provides electricity and fertilizer for the community gardens.

Humanity – People eat healthier foods produced in local gardens, and experience less pollution from waste disposal and production of energy. Meaningful jobs allowing people to express creativity and contribute to personal and community growth are plentiful.

Problem Action: People are not aware of the effect that their purchases and the disposal thereof have on the environment and therefore their own personal health. Recycling is seen as costly or inconvenient, and solutions are not readily available. This is because waste is not traditionally thought of as an opportunity for jobs and better health. We can find measures of current waste going to landfills, number of people involved, etc.

Climate – Wasted products and food end up in the landfill and produce methane gas, contributing to climate change, and leach harmful chemicals into the ground and the water sources. Many products use excessive amounts of fossil fuels to produce, package and deliver.

Economy – The cost of waste disposal is not factored into the price of products, and people pay for it the costs of environmental cleanup and impaired health. Waste is inefficient and can be designed out with care.

Humanity – Many health problems result from the way we currently handle waste disposal.

Funnel of Behavior Change:

Target Action:Everyone is aware of, participates in, and benefits from the community waste repurposing center.
Ideal Group: Everyone
Motivation:People are rewarded for reducing waste with reduced costs, rebates, jobs, better health. They are more connected to the people in their community.
Ability: Community waste repurposing center is accessible and open 24/7, and provides education and assistance.
Trigger:People want to save money and learn about new job opportunities.
Chasm Group:Community activists, parents, students
Problem Action:People are not aware of the effect that their purchases and the disposal thereof have on the environment and therefore their own personal health. Recycling is seen as costly or inconvenient, and solutions are not readily available.

Step 3: Partricipate and Share

Sustainability Measures:

Priorities:Inflows (what’s needed)Outflows (what’s produced)
Find a location for the centerResearch, funding, partnershipsCommunity center for education, repurposing waste, energy from waste
Bring the community togetherEducation, OutreachIncreased knowledge of solutions
InnovationIdeas for new recycling programs, training for repurposing and energyJobs, reduced waste and new products from recycled materials

Mission and Strategy: We will establish and maintain a community waste repurposing center that focuses on educating people and making recycling and repurposing worthwhile, simple and exciting.

This is a big, multi-faceted target action. We write a business plan and carry it out!

Example 2: Simple

I am a mother trying to figure out how to get my children to re-use their bath towels so we have to wash them less. I know it’s going to be better for the household water and detergent bills, waste less water and use less electricity, and teach my children how to be mindful in their actions. They are always looking for ways to earn a little extra money, so when I see their towels hanging there instead of in the hamper or on the floor, I reward them with additional allowance. I will install brightly-colored and easy-to reach hooks on the way to the hamper. I designate/decorate hooks with their names and favorite colors. On their way to the hamper, they see the hooks and hang up towels instead of hampering. Instead of paying higher bills, my kids learn that with a little bit of extra care, they can earn bigger allowances! The money I save in water and electricity bills covers the increase in allowance. This example shows how we can get started with simple target actions!

Course Discussion