Lindemann-Matthies, P., Hoyer, E. & Remmele, M. (2021). Collective public commitment - young people on the path to a more sustainable lifestyle, Sustainability, 13(20).
Abstract Society’s development towards more sustainable lifestyles can only succeed, if changes are also performed at the individual level. We therefore investigated whether participation of teenagers (14-19 years old) in a collective public commitment and accompanying workshop on plastic consumption strengthened their willingness and ability to take action. Previous projects such as the EcoTeam Program served as workshop templates. Over a period of five weeks, the teenagers met once a week for the workshop, an exchange of ideas and the establishment of weekly goals for their commitment. Semi-structured interviews were carried out to investigate the outcomes directly after the project and three years later. Participants developed a more conscious environmental perception, which led to behavioral changes and the willingness to maintain or improve the changes. Beyond that, most participants functioned as multipliers and ambassadors for a more sustainable lifestyle in their social environment. Even three years after the commitment project, all former participants had maintained their behavioral changes. Collective public commitment could thus be a suitable method for ESD, and a vehicle to support young people on their path to a more sustainable lifestyle.