On New Year's Eve, 2017, indigenous hip hop artist Xiuhtezcatl delivered a fiery speech on climate change action to over 15,000 music fans gathered for a Bassnectar concert.
"Every single day the actions that you take can influence the world around you," he said, "this is not about being an activist ... this is about the future of the planet we will pass onto the next generation."
We were inspired and we wanted to help, but we had one question: What do we do about it?
Most people want to do better for the environment, they're just not sure where to start. And even when people do take action, it's difficult to see how their choices matter.
So we spent the next year chatting with experts in advocacy, activism, and climate science to figure out how we could help fans turn big ideas of change into real-life, real impact, individual actions. We forged partnerships with Xiuhtezcatl's youth environmental advocacy group, Earth Guardians, and Bassnectar's non-profit arm, Be Interactive, to bring our findings back to the fans so that they could #BeTheRegeneration.
Over the course of just a few hours, we engaged over 400 fans in meaningful, face-to-face conversations with fans about what actions they could take to do better by the planet. Nearly 300 chose to act, writing down their pledges on a postcard that will be sent back to them as a reminder to stick to it. The action of writing gave their words more weight, and by allowing fans to choose lifestyle changes that worked for them, rather than telling them what to do, we were able to help people make commitments that were equal parts accessible and empowering.
The list of actions was developed in partnership with Do Nation, a pledge platform that helps people adopt new behaviors that help to create a happier, healthier, more sustainable world.
Unlike a traditional New Year's Resolution, Do Nation only asks for commitments of 60-days rather than a whole year. Psychologically, the shorter commitment period lowers the barrier to entry while increasing the likelihood of sustained change. Two-months is also just long enough for pledge-takers to realize some of the non-environmental benefits of their choices, too, like eating healthier and exercising more. Whereas less than 10 percent of people stick to New Year's Resolutions, the Do Nation Platform yields success rates closer to 50 percent.
But the real key, according to Do Nation founder Hermione Taylor, is "most of the pledges are being made within a social community." That means participants talk more about their actions with their friends, which adds a layer of competition and brings their commitments back to the forefront of their psyche. "There's a kind of social learning, social pressure element to it that keeps people motivated," Taylor said.
#BeTheRegeneration runs through April, 1, 2019. It's not too late to join: http://wearedonation.com/theregeneration/
by Davis Burroughs