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7 Motivations for Lighter Living Action in BC

  • Published on February 13, 2022

People make sustainable choices everyday, but the ‘why’ behind those decisions is different from person to person. The Canadian report 7 Motivations for Lighter Living Action in BC outlines 7 distinct motivations for why BC residents make the sustainable choices they do. Each motivation includes a breakdown outlining whether that motivation is motivated by planet, what type of communications they respond to, and where they turn to for information. Download the report and explore the DIY Toolkit.


The seven ‘motivations’ reflect shared attitudes – they are not ‘groups of people.’ People are motivated differently depending on the situations they’re in and the actions they’re taking. By understanding which other motivations exist, we can encourage and support more sustainable choices and actions by all people. Use the guide and accompanying videos to identify those motivations that are a clear fit with your target audience and support them to do more. 


The great news is that we discovered many more people take lighter living actions in their daily lives than those who are ‘green’ or ‘eco-minded.’ By understanding which other motivations exist, we can encourage and support more sustainable choices and actions by all people — whether they are consciously motivated by the planet or not. We can design with their needs in mind. In other words, we can mainstream lighter living faster and better by tapping into different motivations. 


Eco-Trends (20% of the BC population) is one of seven motivations for lighter living action in British Columbia, Canada. People are motivated to align themselves towards progressive trends and are likely to share their behavioural changes with others. 


Those motivated by Healthy Life & Planet (14%) make choices because of the climate emergency, and spend time researching the area of their interest. They are systems thinkers: their choices go beyond small actions, making long term substantial changes. The guide recommends using facts to support eco-friendly benefits.  


People motivated by Waste Not Want Not (22% of the B.C population) tend to own and use only what they need, limiting waste. They are very aligned with sustainable living, but are not necessarily motivated by environmental reasons. People motivated in this way are likely to buy second hand, be budget conscious, and repair. The guide recommends designing towards zero waste with minimal packaging.


Practical Traditions, 7% of the study population, make choices based on practicality and lowest prices. Choices are not motivated by environmentally-friendly ideals. Progressive ideas can be met with resistance so the guide suggests engaging them in  actions, products and services that are familiar, simple, and cost-effective.


Those motivated by Rugged Independence (10%) are highly individualistic and seek durability and utility in lifestyle choices. People with this dominant motivation seldom make choices for environmental reasons; however, they can take actions aligned with sustainability like repairing goods.. To design for them, use facts aligned with durability and individualistic lifestyles. 


Shop, Style, & Social (20%) seek new experiences and to fit within popular culture. Actions are motivated by social dynamics. The guide recommends designing towards mobile, digital access, and engaging through their social networks. 


Attitudes associated with Work Hard, Live Large (7%) reflect buying products and services that offer comfort, luxury, and convenience. People under this motivation, compared to the previous 6, are more likely to have larger homes and cars. To design for this motivation, it’s helpful to communicate convenience, luxury, and performance. 


To develop the report, OneEarth conducted 20 in-depth qualitative interviews and a quantitative study of 1,500 British Columbia residents between July and November 2020. This Canadian study was adapted from research undertaken in Finland by the Finnish Innovation Fund (SITRA). 


To understand more about these motivations reference the final report, webinars, and other supporting documents here


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