Change Is Hard

Dave Roberts attended a workshop on behavior change. He found it sobering:

Many, many (many!) people cling to the notion that the way to motivate behavior change is simply to give people more information. Untold sums of money have been spent sending people brochures or sending them to websites where they can learn more; the results of those programs are almost uniformly dismal. Information is not motivation.

Others cling to a different illusion: that price alone can shift behavior, that financial self-interest is a kind of ur-motivation, trumping all others. Carbon pricing, according to the economist's dream, will drive cascading behavior change across the entire economy. In fact, as [Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr, a professor, consultant, and author of the book Fostering Sustainable Behavior] illustrated at length, programs driven by economic incentives (rebates, etc.) have underperformed again and again. As he told me later, he's a supporter of ecological tax reform, but we should be realistic ...