Ever found yourself out buying lunch and being enticed by healthier foods on display? Or have you come across a form online which has had options pre-selected for you? Well… you may have just been “nudged.”
You may not notice it at first, but throughout our day-to-day lives, we are actually guided by these nudges. So what exactly are they? And can we use them to make a positive difference to our seas?
What is a “Nudge”?
In a nutshell, a nudge is a subtle, yet effective way to influence the choices we make. It’s like having a friendly tap on the shoulder that nudges us to consider a certain course of action. For instance, seeing healthier well-presented food at eye-level, may make us think twice before reaching for that slice of chocolate cake a few shelves away!
These influences can be designed to nudge us more-directly. Like markings on pavements and roads or pre-selecting suggested options in online forms. But they can also be more indirect. For example, designing and building a narrow winding path to encourage people to move with greater care.
If you may be wondering, “does this mean I have no free will at all?!” Well, of course you do!
These nudges only get you to consider a choice by piquing your curiosity or getting you to stop and think. They do not take away your ability to make a choice. However, it is worth looking out for good and bad nudges.
Overall, a good nudge will alert you towards an ethical or positive decision, like recycling your waste, or eating healthier foods. It should also be transparent, and not restrict your ability to make a decision. However, a bad nudge would be the antithesis of these points. Generally it’s always worthwhile thinking “why am I doing this?” And “what alternative choices do I have?” This will help you identify whether you are being nudged in the right direction.
Nudging to save the seas
Our seas are currently grappling with a global waste and climate crisis. Millions of day-to-day items from plastic bottles to cigarette filters are ending up in the sea.Changing the behaviour and actions of people will stop this waste crisis at its source. Trying to mitigate the damage once it’s been done is a near impossible task. For this reason, nudges are one of our biggest allies!
The BinForGreenSeas nudge
GreenSeas Trust uses this powerful tool in our projects. The graphics on the BinForGreenSeas uses subtle and direct prompts to visually educate. Our nudge, simultaneously tackles irresponsible littering and the reduction of single use plastics.
One of the most powerful nudges of all is…you!
The impact we as individuals have on one another, cannot be under estimated. How we behave can be a nudge for others to consider their own actions. So when you go out and about, start nudging! Take reusable, non-plastic, drinking bottles and bags when you leave the house. Make sure you leave no trace when you visit the coast or countryside by either responsibly disposing of rubbish or taking it home. If you act sustainably, those around you may notice and think twice about their own actions.
Better still, be a vocal nudger! If you are passionate about our seas and the environment (and we hope you are!), share it and spread the word about how we can protect this fragile eco-system. Make a pledge to end plastic waste on our website!
A single nudge on its own can make a small change, but if we all start nudging and following prompts to make good decisions, we can make a massive difference to help our oceans.