June 2022 🌍 Climate Corner
ABA AND CLIMATE CHANGE: THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW
What is a behavior analyst to do regarding climate change? Effectively addressing the current climate crisis requires changing human behavior. One may ask: How do we change human behavior? What specific behaviors need to change? What behaviors should we engage in instead? How do we motivate people to make changes in their behavior? What can we do to ensure lasting behavior change? What skills do people need to acquire to reduce their carbon footprint? What supports can we put in place to facilitate behavior change and the development of new habits? These questions may seem daunting considering the enormity and critical importance of this challenge, but they are questions that behavior analysts address daily, applied to a host of behavior in homes, schools, and clinics.
The idea that ABA can address climate change is not a new one. In 1948 B.F. Skinner discussed sustainable communities and practices in Walden Two. “Either we do nothing and allow a miserable and probably catastrophic future to overtake us, or we use our knowledge about human behavior to create a social environment in which we shall live productive and creative lives and do so without jeopardizing the chances that those who follow us will be able to do the same.” More recently, in the 2010 special section of The Behavior Analyst dedicated to climate change, Heward & Chance stated, “Behavior analysis, the science of behavior change, can and must help society combat climate change. The very purpose of applied behavior analysis is to develop a reliable technology for improving socially significant behavior). Is there any behavior more socially significant than behavior that could save civilization?”
Certainly, some behavior analysts are actively working...