Sunday, July 5, 2009

Strengths Based Approaches to Going Green

My friend Gina Murphy Darling hosts a weekly radio show called Mrs. Green Goes Mainstream. Her show is always inspiring and informational. She offers listeners a chance to celebrate what they can do to increase their level of green.

One of the things I love about her message, is that it is strengths based. Traditional approaches based on an innaccurate understanding of the brain - are often focused on making people feel bad and guilty about their daily habits and fearful about the future. Recent findings on the brain show that this is not the most effective strategy for inspiring positive change. George Lakoff and The Frameworks Institute share research about why facts and figures do not result in positive attitude or behavior change. In summary, there is no frame for them in our brains, and so this type of information goes in and right out of the brain. They also write about what is effective so if you are interested you can read Lakoff's work - I'd recommend starting with Don't Think of An Elephant or go to the Frameworks Institute Website.

There is a much deeper understanding now that neither anger nor fear is the best way to motivate people toward positive action. There are chemicals released in our bodies when we feel angry or afraid that interfere with our higher level thinking, our creativity, and our ability to see the big picture and connect our behavior to it. In fact, some of these chemicals can stay in the body for up to 48 hours. As this new understanding continues to grow, I look forward to more organizations adopting a brain friendly approach to their work, and I celebrate those that are doing it.

On July 18, Mrs. Green will be interviewing Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Founder and CEO of Check out the Ecostiletto website, it is fabulous. Here is a quote straight from the website - "We're not about guilt, we're about information. We're not about forcing you to change, we're about giving you alternatives. Because everyone wants to make a difference, but no one wants to give up the little things that we love. Making a difference doesn't have to mean making a huge change in your lifestyle. Sometimes it just means considering the alternatives."

This is a brain friendly approach to helping people act on their passions and interests. It is so refreshing. And it totally aligns with building resiliency and strengths based approaches to change in all areas of our lives. For more information on Ecostiletto click here, and for more information on Mrs. Green Goes Mainstream click here. Thanks Gina!

Cassandra at

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