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Julie Cook Kitchener Mar 20, 2024 13:58 pm
Hi all, 
Many of you are aware that the Great Barrier Reef along the Australian coast is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders of the world, and that climate change and unsustainable agricultural practices threaten its existence. The Queensland government has funded a campaign, “Project Cane Changer”, that is working to change that. 
To address the problem of excess fertilizers from sugarcane farms flowing into the ocean, the government had initially enacted laws and offered economic incentives that were ultimately ineffective. When the government-funded Project Cane Changer launched, campaign organizers began working directly with farmers to educate them on sustainable sugarcane farming practices. The farmers become accredited in “Smartcane Best Management Practices” and join a community of farmers who are committed to being guardians of the Great Barrier Reef. Project Cane Changer’s slogan, “Setting the Record Straight”, taps into the farmers’ desire to be seen in a positive light rather than being viewed as destroyers of the Reef. 
By offering an accredited program and a chance to join a community of Great Barrier Reef stewards, Project Cane Changer fostered a sense of self-efficacy among the farmers, which is the belief in one’s ability to solve a problem or in this case, to successfully engage in a behaviour (e.g. reducing the use of chemical fertilizers). In this way, the accreditation program was key in instilling confidence in the farmers that together, they can protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Public commitments coupled with leveraging positive emotion are an effective way to influence behaviour for the better. When all of this takes place in the context of an informed and supportive community, that is a powerful motivator for change.
For more information about Project Cane Changer including the impressive results of the program, see Rare’s report (attached) or visit Project Cane Changer’s website here.