Tools of Change provides a very accessible set of resources for promoters of environmentally-friendly habits, products or services, including a Planning Guide, specific Tools of Change, and Case Studies illustrating their use. This introduction defines what we mean by "environmentally-friendly". It also reviews the promotional challenges we face in engaging individuals to take action and, at a broader level, in achieving more sustainable economic development. Finally, it provides a site guide tailored to your interests. Choose a topic to read from the following choices.
We've used the term "environmentally-friendly" to refer to those behaviors, products and services that contribute to sustainable development by minimizing disruptions to our physical environment. This term was chosen because it seems to be intuitively understood and deeply embraced by a wide range of potential users of this site.
Then what do we mean by sustainable development? According to the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, Sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
While this term "sustainable development" means different things to different people, there are a number of common elements that are widely accepted - as defined in the following sites.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Smart Communities Network) http://www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/overview/ovintro.shtml
The Natural Step: http://iisd.ca/business/naturalconcept.htm
When asked, people often say they will pay more for green products, they will compost their organic wastes, they will walk more and drive less, and so on. And we believe they usually mean it. But when we see what products people buy, what garbage they set out for collection, and how they get from place to place - all too often we find that these same people are making other choices.
Most people would be willing to lead a life that is much more sustainable, but a wide range of obstacles get in the way. This Web site presents step-by-step guidance for minimizing these obstacles and motivating people to overcome the ones that remain. It's a source of tried and proven Tools of Change that can increase the impact of your programs and improve their financial attractiveness. It's a guide for engaging individuals to adopt more environmentally-friendly habits, products and services. And it can help you lay the foundation for more sustainable economic development in your community.
Social marketing and sustainable economic development are two approaches not traditionally linked. Over the past decade, community-based projects which use social marketing techniques to achieve sustainable development objectives have grown in number across North America. Documenting, analyzing and sharing the varied approaches used is a major first step in encouraging more widespread acceptance and use of innovative, community-led mechanisms to achieve energy and resource conservation, reduce pollution, and prevent unnecessary waste.
This site is a unique, practical resource for communities wishing to take up the challenge of promoting sustainable development at the grassroots level. It provides a wealth of information and ideas that challenge traditional molds of thinking. The Education Committee of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy considers it "an important addition to Canada's inventory of innovative and well-researched tools for sustainable development", and encourages community groups and decision makers to make use the site and the corresponding workbook - described immediately below.
The Education Committee of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy is mandated to increase public awareness and understanding about the principles and practices of sustainability. It has therefore provided support for the publishing and distribution of a workbook version of this Web site, called Tools of Change: Proven Methods for Promoting Environmental Citizenship.
You can find out more about this workbook or download it from NRTEE's website.
We are in the process of developing a "short list" of sites on how to promote sustainable habits, products and services. We welcome your suggestions.
The following are some good sites for exploring sustainable development in general:
This site presents a network of some of the world's leading sustainable development institutes.
A list of Internet sites dealing with sustainable development, including organizations, projects and activities, electronic journals, libraries, references and documents, databases, directories or metadatabases
The web site of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
This is the home page for Environment Canada's Green Lane. (Note: from the site's home page, select "Issues", then "Sustainable Development".
The U.S. Department of Energy's Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development: (Note: from the site's home page, select "toolkit")
The Case Studies section of this site brings the Planning Guide and Tools of Change to life. To search for case studies that illustrate particular points of interest, click on the "search" button at the left hand side of the screen (or use the text menu at the bottom of the page).
Use the navigation bar at the top of the screen to explore the various sections of this site. The following are some highlights for promoters of environmental citizenship, sustainable economic development, or green products and services.