Maggie Gainer’s Community Development approach to public education and outreach is driven by two essential goals: Behavior Change and Capacity-building. She has provided leadership in increasing public adoption of Zero Waste habits since 1977.
She refers to this as more “inreach” than outreach. It is more effective and longer-lasting to design a public education program by first learning the information sources that influence your target population; who most influences their thinking, their core values, attitudes and preferences, local leadership they follow, their perceived barriers to change, and their daily life habits. Her public education programs are grounded in behavioral science research from the fields of community-based social market research, innovation diffusion, climate change communications, and environmental psychology. Each of these fields have useful behavior change tools to apply to Zero Waste public education.
For the desired, long-term cultural shift, Maggie asserts that capacity-building must always be a goal for public education in any target population – a workplace, a commercial sector, schools, multi-family apartments or among all residents of a city. For long-lasting change, we must attract and prepare more people to continue Zero Waste practices and foster new leaders to spread the word. Maggie’s community development approach emphasizes G.O.L.D. – grassroots organizing and leadership development.