Episode 5 – Values and framing – Targeting compassion over self-interest – Tom Crompton, Common Cause Foundation

There is a great misperception in our society that others place values of self-interest higher than values of compassion and care. Fixing this perception gap is massively important in the way we approach how we try and influence behaviours regarding environmental issues.

As it is Christmas next week, I wanted to focus on a subject of hope, optimism and attempting to find common ground. This episode builds on what we were talking about in the last podcast regarding influencing environmental behaviours. I wanted to dig a bit deeper into this subject and I came across a not for profit called the Common Cause Foundation, run by a small group in the UK.

The foundation was created from within the World Wildlife Fund as a result of work by Tom Crompton (who I speak to in this interview) amongst others and although it started with a focus on conservation and the environment they soon realised that causes which may at first glance seem far removed from one another are intimately connected through values. And hence ‘common cause’ was born.

As well as this common cause also builds on research (some of which they themselves have carried out) which shows that most people actually care deeply about one another and the world around them, often valuing equality, compassion and kindness quite highly……Noooo! I hear you say, I feel like the world is full of horrible people…well don’t worry I often think the same.

Well apparently I’m not alone in thinking this and a big part of Common Causes work is about fixing this perception gap, as apparently most people aren’t as self-centred as perhaps we think.

This perception gap is leading to us often trying to use language and framing to appeal to other people’s self-interest values, such as “you should be vegetarian, it’s cheaper” or “use energy saving light bulbs to save money”. But it turns out this may be doing more harm than good in the long run and focussing on tapping into peoples compassionate values would serve us much better.

Tom will explain this in much more detail and much better than I just did in the interview, I hope you enjoy.

For more information about Common Cause and the fantastic work they are doing visit www.valuesandframes.org or follow them on Twitter @valuesandframes

Rob Wreglesworth

Rob is the head writer at Innovate Eco sharing knowledge and passion cultivated over 10 years working in the Environmental Sector. He is on a mission to build a community of people that are passionate about solving environmental problems.

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