Assignment #1: Get someone to take a green action

Read 'The Short List: The most effective actions U.S. Households can take to curb climate change'  

Pick an energy saving action, ideally from the short list or from a website such as or make one up.

Do or say something to convince one or more people to take that action sometime in the next week. Make sure it's an action they can (and do) complete before the week is out. Feel free to be creative. For example a well placed sign or an artistic installation of some kind might function as well as a personal appeal or an email campaign. 

You may not tell them that this is a class assignment or in any way bring the class into it. 

Specific expectations
  • By 3/8 prepare to present your assignment to the class for 5 minutes and answer questions for 10 minutes during the critique. Tell us:
    • General overview of what you did
      • Be sure to specify the expected impact of the action. Be specific about units (e.g. %age of Swiss residential energy use, lbs CO2, etc), number of people needed to achieve this savings (e.g. 10% of the Swiss population) and frequency the action would need to take place (e.g. 1 per household, weekly, etc). You may want to draw from the assigned readings to help with this. 
      • What did you do? Which person or people were you targeting?
        • Who responded? Who didn't?
    • Walk us through your process [what psychology studies & other models did you use to guide you for example]. You may want to draw from the assigned readings to help with this. 
    • Anything else you think is really important
  • By 3/8 BEFORE class, post to the 2012 Class "blog" with a brief writeup including at least one image of what you did. Your writeup should mention:
    • What you did and what you learned from it?
    • Why do you think it worked or did not work?
    • What would you do differently the next time?
  • Each individual in the project should turn in a short (1/2-1) page essay discussing their perspective on what they learned and what worked or did not work. This is also your opportunity to let me know if there were any difficulties in group interactions.
Examples of great projects from last year's class: (1) Cold Water Initiative (2) Proud to be Secondhand (3) Reduce use of automatic doors

  • Get a whole group to change
  • Get group who know each other to change
  • Convince three people to convince others (start a chain letter)
  • Create a petition instead of creating behavior change); target it at an institution of some sort
  • Do something on Facebook (e.g. start a group). See if it spreads
  • Create a "global" initiative (or locally) such as "turn off the dvi" or "turn off the lights"
  • Organize a flash mob
  • Hold a rally
  • Stake out a politician
  • [implicit in many of these is the need to enumerate the stakeholders involved in a problem]