December 3, 20121 Comment

Values and the outdoors

Inspired by the adventurous spirit of the Scottish naturalist who once tied himself to the top of a tree in a hurricane to experience the exhilaration of nature, the John Muir Award offers participants the opportunity to explore wild places and take an active role in conservation. In October, leaders who deliver the award, including teachers, community workers and National Park rangers, met for their annual gatherings in 3 locations around the UK, to share stories and discuss how values fit into their work. Read more

March 2, 20121 Comment

Building a community of practice: A view from Brussels

Guy and I spent a couple of days in Brussels working with NGO staff exploring what Common Cause means for those working close to policy-making, in communications and behaviour change campaigns.

Questions that we're exploring:

  • Do people who take on CC approach come to different political conclusions?
  • How likely are politicians to respond to intrinsic values?
  • How can NGO community engage with this at a more fundamental level – beyond external communications?
  • How do we do work that we are not personally/organizationally mandated to do? Read more

December 14, 20111 Comment

Talks on carbon emissions not enough: governments must lead a shift in values, says new report

The transition to a sustainable economy will require governments to understand how policy and rhetoric impact public concern about environment and development issues, according to a report from think tank ResPublica published today.

The 56-page report is being launched to coincide with soul-searching in the aftermath of the Durban Climate Change Conference. It addresses the crucial question: how can governments work to create greater political space for proportional responses to environmental problems?

Supported by WWF-UK and Oxfam, the report argues that past and present political objectives have not succeeded in deepening public concern about climate change and poverty. Without such concern, technical policy interventions will never enjoy the public support and momentum that they need.

The report, Different Politics, Same Planet: Values for sustainable development beyond left and right, written by David Boyle, Tom Crompton, Martin Kirk and Guy Shrubsole, is highly critical of current approaches to environmental policy, saying that these often crowded out ordinary people.

It calls for a radically different approach to policy making in the future, one that taps into the cultural values of people and their communities in determining responses to today’s profound social, humanitarian and environmental challenges.

Writing in the Foreword, Phillip Blond argues: “The left has vacated the space that previously valued the inherent beauty and intrinsic value of the natural order, prioritising instead extrinsic values such as material wealth or a utilitarian calculus of leisure and utility.

“The right similarly appealed to extrinsic values through its adoption of market-driven strategies. The natural became a commodity that was to be addressed in a purely instrumentalist manner, with some advocating its protection not in terms of inherent worth or transcendent value, but on purely economic grounds.”

The report dismisses criticisms that such values lack support and are the pursuit of a small minority.  Rather, it points to evidence from psychology that these values are there in all of us – if politicians only found the courage to appeal to them.

Martin Kirk, Head of UK Campaigns at Oxfam, says: “The environment and development movements are energised by a concern for others, which psychologists have shown to be virtually universal. And yet, too often, governments have run scared of speaking to these values, preferring to ‘sell’ concern for the environment and poverty on the grounds of narrow self-interest. This is profoundly counterproductive.”

David Norman, Director of Campaigns at WWF-UK, says: “Public support for government action on the environment is built upon much the same values that underpin public concern for the NHS or universal education. We must begin to situate people’s natural concern for the environment on a bigger political canvas.”

The report seeks to shift the centre of gravity of political debate. It calls for a shift in the way that politicians frame international development and environment policy, advocating that they appeal to – and help strengthen – people’s inherent sense of what is right for future generations and the global poor.

February 26, 2011No Comments

New report from Friends of the Earth US and Psychologists for Social Responsibility

On September 23 and 24, 2010, nearly two dozen activists and psychologists gathered at the offices of Friends of the Earth in Washington, D.C., to explore how to productively apply research and insights from psychology to inspire and empower real, systemic change at every level.

The report from this meeting has just been published. You can read it here.

This blog was originally posted on Identity Campaigning.

October 3, 2008No Comments

WWF leaves leading Scots alone on a mountain

This blog was originally posted on the website Valuing Nature.

Gurjit Singh, President of NUS Scotland, is participating in WWF's 'Natural Change' project. He writes: So How do you explain dancing at the top of a mountain, laughing uncontrollably, roaring with anger and frustration?

I don’t know if you can - it’s something that just happens. I thought I was mad. I thought I was experiencing some sort of breakdown. Come to think of it I probably was. I was going through the breakdown of emotional and psychological effects of being all by myself all the way up a mountain. The rain and the wind together making up my worst weather kind was the first half of the day. It was torrential and it was fierce. There was no shelter! There was no where to hide and there was no sign of it stopping. I was cold I was freezing and I couldn’t do anything about it. How do you know when you have hyperthermia? Despite all this I was determined. Determined to complete this challenge. I begged and I prayed for the sun to come out and guess what just like magic after som time of getting cold, wet and soggy it did!…

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©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

©2018 - 2019 Common Cause Foundation

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