Monday, 25 June 2012

Professor Sir David King: Top Tips on Behaviour Change

The UK Government’s former Chief Scientific Advisor spoke at the conference of the British Humanist Association earlier in June. He gave a wide-ranging presentation on “Human Ingenuity and the New Demand for Collective Action,” looking at climate change, resource depletion et al. He noted, “we are currently on course for a 5-6 degree global temperature rise,” observed that “80% of the world’s cities are on coastlines,” and said that he had “no doubt that the reason for going to war in Iraq was to secure the supply of oil…and, by the way, it cost $3 trillion, according to Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz.” King distinguished three groups who were key to the kind of behaviour change needed to address these challenges: individuals, corporates and governments. A questioner asked “What are the top tips you would give us as individuals on changing our behaviour?” King’s response was: 1. Watch what you eat – try to eat less meat, particularly beef; 2. Watch how you travel – he tries to use mass transport, and he said we should all use our cars less (or, like this blog, give them up altogether); 3. Watch how you heat or cool your house; 4. Influence other people. Great tips – and he should know. (Photo credit:

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