By Cameron Chai
University of Southampton researchers have conducted research to determine the role of voluntary organisations to promote pro-environmental behaviour transition.
The research shows the evidence of success across local and small-scale initiatives. It also raises a question whether the success can be actually made to reach the wider public. The research also points to quantitative and qualitative proof of third sector initiatives, which have changed practices of persons towards recycling, reutilise and domestic energy use.
The research also suggests that third sector organisations (TSOs) can change the behaviour within small group settings, thereby enhancing innovation of novel group norms and collective operations. The TSOs are also successful in delivering alternative infrastructures, including community farms, sustainable housing projects, food or renewable energy co-operative, which ensure behaviour transition.
However, many projects with local and time-intensive nature create a barrier for implementing those projects on a wider scale. The research also states that there is lack of evidence for showing the impact of behaviour change, including transport practices, on the TSOs.
Milena Buchs, a researcher at University of Southampton from the Third Sector Research Centre, stated that many people claims that the TSOs can have impact on behaviour. There are examples of TSOs that have worked with people and successfully altered the way the people approach things like food, energy use or waste products. Also, there is some evidence, which suggests that many people, engaged in these projects, are previously involved with environmental related issues to some extent. Buchs also added that a question remains whether people can be engaged in places, where mainstream norms and attitudes are challenged by the behaviour change. Buchs went on to say that there is an additional need for the government to revise the environmental practices across the nation.