Green Fever EcoCycle and Sustainability in Action

Chapter

Abstract

Green fever is infecting Macquarie University as it champions an innovative, people-driven, campus-wide approach to sustainability that will inspire universities across the world. A coupled human-nature framework, The EcoCycle is introduced in this paper, which will assist Universities to develop and evaluate future programs for behavioural change. The EcoCycle framework is applied to evaluate one of the University’s many sustainability activities, the Annual Department Sustainability Challenge. This program commenced in 2009 and operates at a minimal cost. In 2013, 37 Departments and 1,815 or (approx.) 81 % staff members voluntarily participated, competing for ‘sustainability stars’ awarded for their activities, including greening their offices. They received prizes, such as trees planted in critical koala habitat. The findings from this study demonstrate how the EcoCycle can be employed to understand and evaluate variables that drive or inhibit human actions towards a sustainable planet. Analyses of The Challenge highlight the importance of a whole-of-university approach that is peer and incentive driven and, most importantly, playful. Universities, as community leaders in research, technology and education are strategically placed to address global sustainability challenges. In the ominous context of the impacts of Global Climate Change, positive, constructive sustainability activities, such as the Department Sustainability Challenge provide an exemplar for University communities investing in a sustainable planet. This paper argues that potential program participants should be empowered to design their activities. This strategy ensures their engagement, emphasising that human-centric solutions are critical to addressing human-caused problems.

Keywords

Sustainable development Behavioural change Decisions Environment University Coupled human and nature systems CHANS Socio-ecological Gender 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment and GeographyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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