Root Solutions promotes environmental and resource stewardship by developing and disseminating tools that solve environmental challenges at their root - human behavior. We want every environmental organization and practitioner to have access to powerful tools that allow us to tap into what motivates and matters to people to effect positive change. We believe that these tools will transform the environmental movement.
The environmental movement has achieved many great successes - command and control policies have greatly curtailed pollution, establishing protected areas has kept huge tracts of land and even parts of the ocean intact, and market-based policies are effective in aligning conservation goals with self-interest and allowing people to benefit directly from investing in conservation. Despite these achievements, it’s clear that we need to accelerate change and develop solutions to match the scale of environmental problems.
Root Solutions was founded to elucidate the scientific principles that have been used to accelerate and scale social change and apply them to conservation campaigns, policies, and institutions to do the same.
Root Solutions will draw on decision science -- a collection of scientific disciplines aimed at understanding cognition, decision-making, and behavior. Decision science has shown that we are not rational actors who need only information to make good choices. Instead, we are predictably irrational because we use stereotypes and rules of thumb to cut through complexity, we have cognitive biases, and we are emotional creatures living in societies whose norms greatly influence us.
How we will accomplish our goals: Specific Programs
There is a great need to keep up with the fast growing field of decision science, identify new applications to conservation, and train many more conservation groups to use decision science tools and principles. Root Solutions' main projects include:
- Science: We research and analyze findings from decision science to identify the most robust principles for promoting pro-environmental behavior, to determine how they can most effectively be used to support environmental campaigns, policies, and institutions, and to promote original research in applied decision science.
- Raising Awareness: We raise awareness about how decision science can be used to promote pro-environmental behaviors, habits and values by engaging in various social media platforms, and producing a book aimed at a wide audience of policy makers, conservation practitioners, and advocates for the environment, which will make our findings on decision science in the environmental context accessible to anyone.
- Training and Outreach: We provide guidance and training through presentations and workshops to organizations in need of decision science strategies to improve the effectiveness of their environmental campaigns and strategies. We will be developing a practitioner’s manual in conjunction with our book, which will act as a guide for successfully integrating decision science principles into environmental campaigns.
Root Solutions is a new organization, but has the expertise and experience required to fulfill its mission. Nya Van Leuvan is our Executive Director and has focused her career on the application of research in institutional design, sociology, economics and other fields to create policies and design principles that facilitate environmental protection. Rod Fujita, our Science Director, is a leader in the theory and practice of aligning incentives with good conservation outcomes, with a focus on improving the health of the world’s oceans. After decades of experience incorporating tactics that successfully induce change into conservation strategy and campaigns, Root Solutions’ founders Nya and Rod see the application of findings from behavioral economics and related fields as the next big wave for the environmental movement.