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Human Behavior And The Environment Essay

1094 words - 5 pages

It seems as that now more than ever the focus has been on being environmentally conscience. Cars are more efficient than before and, many businesses promote and practice recycling and other environmentally friendly things. However, not everyone is sold on the lifestyle changes that sometimes have to take place in order to be more environmentally conscience. For example, even though electronic cars are available, not as many people buy them because the initial cost is more expensive than cars that run on gas. Even though recycling service is just as available as trash service, not everyone takes advantage of it. If people know the negative effects their behavior has on the ...view middle of the document...

For instance, to encourage individuals to recycle there are usually recycle bins next to trash bins. By having the recycle bin in that location, it gives the cue to the individual that instead of throwing their water bottle away, it should be recycled.
Another strong influence on environmental behaviors are social norms. Social norms are defined as actions or behaviors that are commonly approved or disapproved (Book). “Social scientists have explored the links between social relationships and behavior and there is now substantial and growing evidence that social ties influence beliefs, values, preferences, and choices (Influence of Social Relationships).” In American society, it is a social norm to go to the restroom to pass gas and it is disapproved to pass gas while eating with other individuals especially in public. Social norms impact behavior in the environment because it influences how one will behave. In order to change behaviors, social norms need to be changed. Currently if an individual throws a soda can in the trash it is socially accepted. Most people will think that that person is avoiding littering and creating a positive impact on the environment. However, if the social norm were to change and it was disapproved to throw a can in the regular trash and not a recycle bin that individual’s behavior may be different or receive a different reaction. “Because humans are social animals, human behavior is strongly influenced by behavior of other humans (Silence of the Library)”. Therefore changing behaviors will have a positive total impact on everyone.
For societal norms to change, one has to know how to change. There is a theory called the Goal framing theory that suggests that behavior can be influenced by focusing on three goals. “Goal framing theory is an integrated framework for understanding factors influencing behavior, with an emphasis on the relative strength of hedonic, gain and normative goals (Book).” The hedonic goals focus on maintaining or improving the way one feels at the current moment. The normative goal is the goal that seeks to conform to societal goals and norms. Lastly, the gain goal focuses on improving or maintaining one’s resources (Book). To change social norms, these goals need to be considered. Different goals motivate different people in different ways....

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