Our Most Popular Stories of 2019

Before we move into the next decade (2020), we’re taking one more look back at the year that was. Here are some of our most popular stories and articles from 2019.

Want people to adopt climate-friendly behaviors? Understand what motivates them

In his latest blog, Rare’s CEO, Brett Jenks, responds to a column by Axios’ Amy Harder in which she admits that even she — energy reporter and conscientious citizen — needs an incentive to adopt climate-friendly behaviors. Jenks provides a synopsis of the latest behavioral science research to help Harder and the rest of us realize that we can each have an impact on the climate emergency.

“We do need systemic change at the international and national level. But let’s face it, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. And in the meantime, we’re not powerless…we know that understanding human behavior and motivations, and designing behavior-centered solutions, is a way to get climate-friendly behaviors adopted.”

The Future Does Not Have to Be Like This

In Rare’s take on Our Planet: Coastal Seas, the 4th episode in Netflix’s nature docu-series released earlier this year, we highlight how our coastal fisheries program, Fish Forever, protects the very coastal seas, and those who depend on them, that the episode highlights. In our story version, we emphasize how humans’ role is in both causing the imbalance and being the solution to re-balancing it. Attenborough shines a light on the success in one of our program sites, in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and reminds us that the future can be more like this.

“The future does not have to be like this [cue imagery of jellyfish and dead coral reefs]…when given the chance, [our coastal seas] can recover surprisingly quickly,” Attenborough narrates.

Let’s Talk Solutions: An Interview with Preeminent Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe

In this Q&A with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, professor and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, Hayhoe offers insight into improving how we communicate about climate change and the role behavioral science can play in crafting new approaches to stopping global warming.

“That’s why talking about the real solutions — positive, beneficial, do-able solutions — is so important; because that is what gives us hope.”

Solution Search: Women-led Movements Win

Solar Sister and 1 Million Women — the two winners of Rare’s latest Solution Search contest, Climate Change Needs Behavior Change — took home the top two $25,000 awards. They each represent a different kind of women-led movement that unifies behind a common theme: globally elevating women’s rights, voices, and leadership. The goal of this year’s contest was to find proven and promising solutions from around the world for motivating individuals, households, and communities to adopt climate-friendly behaviors and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are so excited to win this award because it recognizes the incredible work our women entrepreneurs are doing all over Africa,” said Fatma Muzo, Solar Sister Tanzania Country Manager. “I’d say that climate change needs behavior change and women — because investing in and empowering women pays off for the climate and the environment!”

The Fish Are Back

In this inspiring video, taken by Rare in the Philippines, Fishers in San Carlos City and the Amlan municipality in Negros island share their stories on how they transformed their communities and revived their marine protected areas.

“We have reached 101 metric tons per square kilometer of biomass in our marine sanctuary. This is one of the highest inside MPAs in the entire Philippines,” says Melvin Laglayon, Rare Conservation Fellow in San Carlos City.

A day filled with hope, solutions and the unexpected

The Center for Behavior & the Environment (BE.Center) at Rare hosted two summits this year to explore global climate change through the lens of human behavior. BE.Hive: Climate Change Needs Behavior Change, held at National Geographic in March, brought together climate experts, behavioral scientists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and entertainers to debate and discuss how to apply behavioral solutions to climate change. Watch the video highlights.

“It’s really hopeful and motivating. Climate change is touching every single one of us so it can’t just be scientists solving this problem. We have to bring in people who know how people work,” said Dr. Kate Marvel, a climate scientist with Columbia University and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Following the success of the first BE.Hive summit, Rare and Dickinson College collaborated to re-create the experience in a campus setting. BE.Hive on Campus in September brought together 400 students and campus changemakers, behavioral scientists and researchers, student advocates, social entrepreneurs, and CEOs from 44 colleges and universities to consider how individual actions can make a big impact on climate change. The day ended with attendees pledging to adopt a sustainable behavior like curbing food waste and earning a “pledge pin” signifying their commitment.

“I feel inspired after this kind of thing,” said Dana Schroeder, Sustainability Coordinator for Outreach & Engagement at the University of Virginia. “There are all kinds of ways we can change our approach to be most effective. It’s not just a shot in the dark.”

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