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The impact of everyday choices on the environment

How many paper cups are used in the Key Building every day? How many paper towels? And how much water? The “MindFull of Choices” project is intended to make us more aware of the impact of our everyday choices on the environment.

Bild: Studenterna bakom MindFull of ChoicesThe initiative for the MindFull of Choices project comes from a group of students from several master’s programmes, who came up with the idea of the project during a case meeting arranged by Engineers Without Borders. They are working on the project in addition to their studies.
“You hear about LiU’s environmental commitment all the time. But you don’t see much evidence of it on campus,” says Marianne Kropf, a student from Germany taking a master’s degree in Science for Sustainable Development.

The project wants to use the concept of “nudging”, gently pushing and subtly leading people, to encourage them to take a different direction than they otherwise would have taken. It is important to increase awareness of the environmental impact of behaviour and the small everyday choices we all make. Changing habits can have a large impact.

“We plan, for example, to set up stickers next to wall sockets encouraging people to disconnect their computer or telephone as soon as it is fully charged, and in this way save energy and extend battery life,” explains Marianne Kropf.
In addition to stickers, posters with information and clear comparisons will be put up. If a café uses 250 paper cups every day, how many is this in a week, a month, a year?

Bild: SustainabilityPoster“Nudging can be considered to be manipulative, since the targets of the nudging cannot choose whether they want to be nudged, and whether they want to be subconsciously influenced,” says Marianne Kropf. “This is why we have chosen to communicate openly, and arrange a seminar in which we explain the background to the MindFull of Choices project. We will also carry out a questionnaire survey of students in the Key Building after the project.”

MindFull of Choices will focus on four areas: water consumption, energy, paper towels and paper coffee cups. The campaign will be held throughout April, and the project will evaluate how students experienced it. It will then be handed over to the university.
“We hope that the project will be successful, and that it can be used in other buildings,” says Anna-Karin Unger, head of the environment and security office at LiU. “How the project is to continue depends on interest from new students. The students know best how to communicate with other students, and including them in projects such as this is invaluable.”

LiU works with the environment with great success in many ways, through research, education, and measures that include a well-established sorting of waste at source, Återbruket for the reuse of furniture and other equipment, widespread use of renewable electricity, and extensive on-site production of electricity.

“Something that we have not previously worked with to any great extent is change in behaviour and how important it is that all students, co-workers and visitors work to reduce impact on the environment,” says Anna-Karin Unger. “But nudging and environmental communication are two areas that we will definitely be working with in the future.”

In the group of students: Sahith Yellabonu, Valentina Mikhaylevskaya, Yin He, Miguel Vidal Castelló och Marianne Kropf.
Not on the picture: Paula Wrona and Antonia Lüder, who are both on an exchange semesters at the moment.

Elisabet Wahrby 2018-03-26

Page manager: elisabet.wahrby@liu.se
Last updated: 2018-03-26