Healthy Eating : Environmental Action

A couple weeks ago, I met Will Grant, a social entrepreneur who aspires to educate kids and adults about climate change. I learned a lot from Grant and one thing I learned from him was the reason why no one is taking action to stop climate change. Grant cites from a well-known psychologist and states that the problem can be summarized in the 5 D's (maybe 4).

1) Doom (Framing global warming as something drastic will scare us away from taking action. It's too much for us to handle)

2) Diffuse (The fact that global warming is all over place makes it even harder to resolve the problem)

3) Distant (Global warming is not directly affecting us, which makes us less motivated to do something about it. For example, a melting ice cap has no direct harm to us)

4) iDentity (When climate change solutions call to change out identity, we are less inclined to take action. For example, if a solution compels us to stop traveling through airplane, travelers who travel through plane will omit the solution since riding in planes is part of what they do.)

5) Dissonance (If the solution for global warming is in direct conflict with what I care, then I would, once again, ignore the solution. This would go together with identity since what you care shapes your identity)

In order to motivate people to action, Grant recommended that we properly address the intensity of the problem. We can do this understanding how climate change affects our daily lives. Next, we would need to be informed about the variety of ways that we can do to solve this problem and how we can get involved. The last part is important because it makes it convenient for us to take baby steps to overcome a huge issue.

Now, you may wonder why I had to write a lot about the psychology of climate change. I am telling you all this because the the psychological principles to promote action for climate change can also be used to promote action for your health goals.

In the case of health, the principles would look like this:

1) Doom (Framing obesity as something drastic will scare us away from taking action. It's too much for us to handle)

2) Diffuse (The fact that maybe everyone in my community has health problems makes it less motivated for me to take action; this one is more like influence. If you hang out with those who will eat healthy, you will slowly start to adopt some of their habits)

3) iDentity (If the solution to resolve my health issues is in direct conflict with my identity, then I would, once again, ignore the solution. For example, if a health protocol requires me to abandon food staples in my culture such as rice, then I would be less motivated to follow that protocol.)

Then, it follows that if we were to motivate others or ourselves to achieve our health goals, we would first need to understand how our current health issues affect our well being and then become informed about different ways that we can resolve these issues. Lastly, we need to know how we can take the right steps to achieve our goals.

Hopefully this helps,


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