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Julie Cook Kitchener April 14, 2021
Hello everyone,

In the midst of tackling climate change, a global pandemic, and other complex problems, behaviour change practitioners may be asking themselves how best to bring individual behaviour change to scale. The organization Rare has some experience with this. They've developed a program, entitled Lands for Life, which focuses on the social norms around farming. One of their techniques is to "snowball" social proof into social pressure. Essentially, they make the benefits of adopting sustainable farming practices simple and clear for "low-resistance farmers" who require minimal evidence of results to adopt new practices. Then, they publicly showcase the adoption rate and successes of the group to "mid-resistance farmers", who require evidence of results and social proof. Finally, they leverage both low- and mid-resistance farmers to generate widespread expectation of adoption.

This approach applies strategies (i.e. social norms and social diffusion) that are commonly used in Community Based Social Marketing programs. The approach also makes use of the Diffusion of Innovations theory, which is a foundational theory in the behaviour change field that explains how innovations (including behaviours) diffuse through a population over time.

To read the full story of the work that Rare has done in bringing individual behaviour change to scale, you can check out their website (see the Lands for Life link above), or read critical commentary about it in this Behavioural Scientist article