Community Based Social Marketing Course, with renowned Environmental Psychologist, Dr Doug McKenzie-Mohr

Members of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network were delighted to be amongst almost 100 participants, who attended the workshop organised by Aqua TT and NUIG, specifically adapted to supporting sustainable change in Ireland.  Attendees of this virtual course included representatives from government departments, county councils, research institutions, NGOs and industry.

The course, which took place in June, was led by renowned Environmental Psychologist, Dr Doug McKenzie-Mohr, who is the founder of community-based social marketing: an effective approach for the design and delivery of programs that foster sustainable behavioural change.

Speaking to Doug after the workshops he noted ‘Just as our collective actions presently undermine the world’s ecosystems, collective action catalysed by shared purpose cannot only heal the earth, but also humanity. Who hasn’t been heartbroken by the gulf between what we know to be possible and what humanity has settled for?  Acting with shared purpose can embolden the human spirit to expect and strive for more’

The workshop provided participants with a comprehensive introduction to community-based social marketing and how it can be applied to foster health, safety and sustainable behaviours in Ireland. Content included the five steps of community-based social marketing (selecting behaviours, identifying barriers, developing strategies, conducting pilots, and broad scale implementation) and how it could be applied to a number of Irish sustainability issues including safe and active transport, waste management, agriculture, biodiversity and water usage.

David Murphy, AquaTT General Manager and IOLN member said:

“It was a pleasure to partner with Doug and to support this valuable learning opportunity for people engaged with sustainability initiatives in Ireland. The enthusiastic response we received from participants representing public and private bodies across a wide range of sectors demonstrates that there’s a real desire to change Irish society for the better.

We hope that the shared learning and networking opportunities arising from this workshop will help to build momentum for creating a healthier, stronger, more sustainable Ireland.”

For an overview of Community Based Social Marketing see (

Doug highlighted key take home messages for attendees, based on his extensive experience in the area of behaviour change. These included that barriers are behaviour specific, the dangers of relying on self-reporting, and the Hawthorne Effect: people change their behaviour if they know they are being observed.  For more information on CBSM see

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