Watch: How You Can Use the “Happy Buzz” to Fight Climate Change


by Chelsea Wilhite, M.A. Contributing Writer ([email protected])

This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that, for the first time since tracking began, greenhouse gasses surpassed 400 parts per million, highlighting the need to address climate change.  But with April’s Earth Day festivals behind us, we might be losing our conservation motivation.  Despite the variety of “green” products and devices, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like our individual changes are “saving the world” as our field’s pioneers predicted it could.  One way to take larger steps toward behavior analysis changing the world, of course, is to conduct research in that area.  For more on this, see bSci21’s recent article about the work Drs. Mark Mattaini and Molli Luke are conducting.  But there is a simpler way you can contribute… one with far less response effort.  Sustainable home consultant Vicki Bischoff calls it the ‘Happy Buzz.

Chelsea Wilhite, M.A.

Chelsea Wilhite, M.A.

“It is a feel-good thing,” Bischoff explains, referring to why people like to talk about solutions to serious social problems.

“When people are out there looking at what pops up on their social media, this is a happy conversation that’s taking place or a ‘happy buzz’ that people can share with other people,” says Bischoff.

Bischoff’s company, Envirohaven™, holds the patent on a hybrid geodesic-traditional home that meets all Green Certification programs’ requirements.  In other words, it’s a home that’s easy on the environment.  But on top of all that, it’s Universal Building Code (UBC) compliant, which means you can take out a regular mortgage and get a regular home insurance policy.

How does this relate to behavior analysis you might ask?  One, it works within the current system.  A clinician designs behavior change plans that are effective and easy for staff to implement.  Bischoff did the same with a sustainable home design.

“Because the home is considered just a custom home with the building departments, it’s also considered a custom home with the insurers and lenders.”

Two, the efficiency and affordability of the home takes advantage of the client’s reinforcers, namely saving money on heating and cooling, taking advantage of solar energy, and knowing their house meets Green Certification requirements.

“So, we have 1,600 square feet, roughly, and we’ve got roughly 400 square feet of storage.   Less than $40 a month is pretty much all our electric bill is, and that includes what we pay to pay for a water well pump.  We’re way less than half of what the average home this size is paying for their electric.”

Three, the reinforcing aspects of social media take advantage of clients and non-clients engaging in low response-effort behaviors (i.e., clicking, liking, sharing on social media) which, at the same time, help get the word out about sustainability.

“This is a really happy buzz. People are thrilled to be able to share something that’s positive and good and they see can do good for the world,” says Bischoff.

And that last part, you can do, too!  Talk about, like, and share information about practices and products that are efficient, effective, and sustainable!

Please tell us how you are making your behavior more sustainable in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive new articles directly to your inbox!

About the Author:

Chelsea Wilhite, M.A. has always wanted to better understand the world around us. As a television journalist, Chelsea worked her way up the ranks to produce the number one rated television news broadcast in the Fresno television market, an area covering five California counties. Along the way, she won two regional news Emmys and a Radio and Television News Directors Award for best news producer. In an effort to further her understanding of natural phenomena, Chelsea left television after more than a decade, turning to Behavior Analysis. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Reno. While behavior science research and instruction is now her primary interest, Chelsea never lost her passion for journalism and regularly contributes to behavior science oriented blogs, magazines, and newsletters.

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