School of forestry and environmental studies

School Notes: School of the Environment
July/August 2024

Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke |

Observability may increase climate-friendly behavior

A team of researchers, including Kenneth Gillingham, professor of environmental and energy economics at the Yale School of the Environment, has found that being able to provide information to others about their green behavior could increase the adoption of an invisible form of pro-environmental behavior.

Researchers implemented a set of randomized Facebook campaign ads in the Massachusetts cities of Cambridge and Somerville to study social media users’ interest in peer-to-peer solar through clicks on the ads. Peer-to-peer solar offers an opportunity for households that cannot have solar panels installed on their homes to access solar energy from their neighbors. In the campaigns, customers were informed that they could share “green reports” online, providing information to others about their greenness. They found that interest in peer-to-peer solar increased by up to 30 percent when “green reports,” which would make otherwise invisible behavior visible, were mentioned in the ads.

Database highlights environmental professionals of color

The Yale School of the Environment’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Sustainability Initiative (JEDSI) has launched a database detailing the careers and personal stories of more than 200 environmental professionals of color in the United States.

The database, called “People of Color Environmental Professionals: Profiles of Courage and Leadership,” is the most comprehensive of its kind. It features professionals in the energy, Indigenous land rights, conservation, climate, and environmental justice fields, such as Shalanda Baker, who is leading the Justice40 Initiative at the US Department of Energy, and Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Michigan pediatrician whose research helped expose the Flint water crisis. It details various career paths and provides early-career professionals with role models. At least 500 more profiles will be added this year with plans to continually expand.

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