HAPPY EARTH DAY 2009! As we celebrate Earth Day, it is a good time to remember that social marketing can be a useful approach to address environmental issues. Indeed, social marketing has already been used to address issues as diverse as non-point source water pollution, sustainable forests, decreasing fertilizer run-off (including the famous "Save the Crabs" campaign for Chesapeake Bay), watershed protection, reducing automobile idling, and it under girds the Environmental Protection Agency's "Energy Star" program, which certifies energy-efficient home appliances. Jay Kassirer's Tools of Change web site offers an impressive list of social marketing case studies addressing environmental concerns. Jay's site is available in French and English.
Another good resource is Doug McKenzie-Mohr's web site on community-based social marketing. It has a searchable database of journal articles, cases and forums about social marketing approaches to environmental problems. Doug also has co-authored a book with Bill Smith of the Academy for Educational Development, Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing,which details his approach. As many of you know, the Georgetown Social Marketing List serv is a good place to ask questions about many facets of social marketing, including environmental applications. (For directions to subscribing, click on the link on the left of this page.) The Conservation Psychology List serv, hosted at the University of Michigan, addresses issues specific to human behavior and environmental conservation. Ed Maibach, at George Mason University, has created the Center for Climate Change Communication. Its mission is to "conduct public engagement and behavior change research that can be used to improve climate change communication and social marketing programs." Ed and the center collaborated on a wonderful piece of audience research, Global Warming's Six Americas: And Audience Segmentation.
I created a PowerPoint case study to illustrate what a social marketing approach to an environmental issue might look like. You can view it on Slideshare.com at http://tinyurl.com/c5nctz.
On Earth Day and every day, do something nice for the environment! Use social marketing to keep it clean, green and functioning!