YCP Students Attend “BE.Hive on Campus: Climate Change Needs Behavior Change” at Dickinson College

by Zachary Claghorn, Political Science Major, ’21

Dickinson College hosted the BE.Hive conference, which was attended by Dr. Pomeroy and her Urban Land Use & Sustainability class. The intention of the conference was to facilitate an understanding of three key points through a series of talks and presentations. The points focused on were an understanding of the severity of climate change, the potential impact an individual could have on the environment in their everyday lives, and how to persuade others to join your cause.

Students in Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy’s Geography 331: Urban Land Use and Sustainability class joining sustainability professionals, behavioral scientists, and youth climate activists, attended “BE.Hive on Campus: Climate Change Needs Behavior Summit” on October 5, 2019 at Dickinson College. Center: Gunnar Nemeth (with the phone), Zach Claghorn, a lovely registration lady. Back from left to right: Trent Golden, David Ponta, Tanner Godfrey, Emma Coggines, Olivia Gausch, and Jarrett Schwartz.

The notion that an individual is not capable of having an impact on the environment was thoroughly dismissed as a poor excuse for inactivity. Many of the talks were focused on motivating the audience to believe that they were all capable of affecting the environment. The audience was left feeling as if useful ideas that aid climate change efforts can come from anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Even if someone cannot go above and beyond then at the very least they could walk a little more and drive a little less. We were told that this achieves two ends.

Front: Gunnar Nemeth, Olivia Gausch. Middle: Emma Coggins, Tanner Godfrey. Back: David Ponta, Zach Claghorn, and Jarrett Schwartz.

First, the direct actions of the behavior are achieved. Second, the behavior has a secondary effect of influencing others to partake in similar behavior. It is this secondary result which established the key point of persuasion. Talk after talk was given explaining the nature of human beings to want to do what it is that their peers are doing. Turns out, the simplest way to convince others to do something is to do it yourself. 

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