BECC Sponsored Webinars

The BECC 2020 Webinar Series brings attention to cutting-edge advances in research and practice addressing behavior, energy, and climate change. We showcase the best BECC-related content and world leaders in the field to keep the conversation going between conferences and throughout the year. For those who cannot attend BECC, the sessions provide an opportunity to learn and share ideas. For those who can attend, the series gives a preview of conference topics. Our mission is to promote and disseminate behavior research as it applies to real-world climate and energy issues. Enjoy!

Who Benefits? Moving toward a narrative of equitable access to the environment we seek to preserve

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 1pm ET

Most of our conversations at the intersection of energy, climate, and communities of color focus on mitigating the disproportionate burdens placed on these communities. However, this approach continues to normalize the negative impacts on marginalized communities rather than forcing us to ask who benefits from the clean energy transition?

Reducing global temperatures and protecting the natural world are imperative, yet environmental stewardship must ensure that communities of color can take part in its benefits. National parks were acquired through the removal of Native American populations and acquisition of their lands, and the preservation of public parks and outdoor spaces continues to be policed through structures of white supremacy and privilege—routinely denying people of color access to these lands. Who gets to thrive on the lands we seek to preserve? What are we missing when we focus our conversations solely on the most polluted environments?

Communities of color are routinely denied access to our most pristine natural environments. How can they be equal leaders in the fight for climate justice when their personal safety continues to be threatened in the spaces we aim to protect?


Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation

Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome is a Senior Program Officer at The Kresge Foundation, responsible for the Environment Program’s grant portfolio on Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS). Jalonne is also a core team member of Kresge’s Climate Change, Health and Equity Initiative, supporting grantmaking across the public health sector.

Before joining Kresge in 2016, Jalonne served as director of federal policy at West Harlem Environmental Action Inc. (WE ACT), where she led national campaigns to ensure that the concerns of low-income communities of color were integrated into federal policy, particularly on issues of clean air, climate change and health. She is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. As a researcher on climate, health and equity, Jalonne was a lead author for the human health chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. She provides leadership on various boards, including the National Academy of Sciences Board on Environmental Change and Society, the U.S. Climate Action Network, Health Environmental Funder’s Network Steering Committee, and the Urban Water Funder’s Group.

Dr. Len Necefer, Assistant Professor, The University of Arizona

Dr. Len Necefer, is an Assistant Professor with joint appointments with the American Indian Studies program and the Udall Center for Public Policy. In addition, he is the founder and CEO of Colorado-based outdoor apparel company NativesOutdoors. Previously he worked at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio on supersonic vehicle research and most recently worked for the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs supporting tribes realize their energy futures through research and grant making. His research focuses at the intersection of indigenous people and natural resource management policy. This has included work from energy and water issues in the lower 48 and Alaska to outdoor recreation management policy.


Sherard Robbins, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Visceral Change

A two-time TED Talk presenter, Comic Con International panelist, published author, and international speaker, Robbins finds new and creative ways to utilize his platform in hopes of making his message about diversity, equity, and inclusion as digestible and palpable as possible for all. Sherard Robbins serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Visceral Change. For close to a decade, Robbins has operated as a multicultural organizational development consultant helping organizations and institutions across the country and abroad find new and creative ways to center their professional framework around diversity and inclusion. He has championed efforts to address and exact social change both nationally and internationally, and has been highly revered by corporations, councils, and institutions across the globe.

Robbins’ work is grounded in the Core Five Components to Social Justice™, a model outlined in his book, he developed to help people better understand the broader concepts of the work. In his book, A Diamond is a Diamond: The Core Five Components to Social Justice, Robbins suggests that these components: Power and Privilege, Identity and Intersectionality, Systems of Socialization, Cultural Competence, and Allyship and Advocacy, are the foundations of social justice and through an understanding of them, one is able to become an effective steward of leadership. For his work in inclusive leadership and organizational development, Sherard was selected as a member of the 2019 Southern Arizona 40 Under 40 induction class.

10 Social Marketing Pitfalls in Behavior Change Campaigns

Wed, July 15, 2020, 2:30 – 3:30 PM ET

Presentation slides:

Julie Colehour and Nancy Lee will use their combined 50 years of experience planning and implementing social marketing campaigns to highlight the common mistakes they have seen time and time again. The social marketing planning process is complex; one wrong decision can dramatically impact your results. This presentation will focus on the following 10 common social marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them.

  1. Failing to set measurable objectives up front
  2. Focusing on more than one behavior
  3. Identifying too many barriers; not targeting the one that is preventing the desired behavior
  4. Underestimating the benefits and motivators that are needed to overcome the barrier to the behavior change
  5. Thinking your audience is “the public” or “everyone”
  6. Assuming your target audience is just like you or that you know how your target audience thinks and feels
  7. Failing to trust the research
  8. Creating messages that don’t resonate with your audience
  9. Selling “features” instead of “benefits”
  10. Failing to account for self-reporting bias in your evaluation strategy


Julie Colehour, Partner, C+C

Julie believes that marketing can change the world for the better —so much so that she co-authored a book on the topic (The Environmental Marketing Imperative) and founded her communications agency C+C in 2005 to use social marketing principles to improve recycling, reduce energy waste, inspire people to use public transit, and generally make our world a healthier, happier place. Today, C+C is a national leader in cause-driven marketing, working with clients including REI, Nike, Alaska Airlines and ENERGY STAR. The agency’s blend of social science-inspired creative and multicultural marketing expertise earned it at the 2018 awards of Boutique Agency of the Year from The Holmes Report and Small Agency of the Year from PR Week.


Nancy Lee, Strategic Advisor, C+C

Nancy met and fell in love with social marketing in 1992 as the Director of Marketing for Seattle Children’s Hospital. She had just received the results of a drowning-prevention campaign she had managed, which indicated that life vest usage among children had increased by 25 percent. She was hooked. In the past 25 years she has coauthored 13 books on social marketing with Philip Kotler; taught Introduction to Social Marketing at the University of Washington; consulted with over 100 government agencies facilitating the development of social marketing plans using the 10-Step Model she developed with Kotler; and conducted social marketing training for more than 3,000 program managers in Washington state. She believes that social marketing as a discipline has been “launched” but is not “in orbit.” She won’t stop until it is!

Transformational Communications: Increasing Government Ambition in Public Engagement on Climate Change

Wed, Jun 24, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:00 ET

Governments have failed to effectively engage people on the issue of climate change, even 30 years after committing in the Framework Convention to inform and educate their citizens about this critical issue. Today, people are still disturbingly ill-informed about what is causing climate change, how urgent it is, and how it will impact their lives. So, how do we assert people’s legal (and moral) right to know, and how can we transform our approach to engagement in order to overcome polarization and build a broad-based public mandate to support action? Our speaker, George Marshall, will make the case that public engagement is essential for achieving our climate targets and will discuss a major new international initiative to transform government commitments to public engagement.


George Marshall, founder of Climate Outreach

George is the founder of Climate Outreach, a non-profit based in Oxford, UK that is Europe’s leading specialist in climate change communication. Climate Outreach’s clients include the World Bank, IPCC, governments around the world, and most major environmental networks. He is the author of the acclaimed Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change and presented the opening keynote at the BECC annual conference in 2018.

Maximizing Impact of Energy Affordability Assistance Programs

Wednesday, May 20, 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern


According to a 2018 report by ACEEE, 24% of American families carry a high energy burden, defined as spending more than 6% of household income on their energy bills. That proportion is higher still among low-income, African-American, and elderly households.

Recognizing this inequity, and in an effort to reduce energy bills for these populations, policymakers have designed programs to provide free energy-efficient upgrades. However, these programs don’t always see the eager uptake we might anticipate.

Michelle Hilscher and Sarah Carpentier, two behavioral scientists at BEworks, will discuss the psychological and behavioral drivers behind enrollment in energy affordability assistance programs. They will cover how the so-called “scarcity mindset can exacerbate the barriers of negative social stigma and hassle costs,” present evidence-backed strategies that can increase enrollment in these programs among the people who need them most, and provide behaviorally informed recommendations for policymakers hoping to effect maximal change to reduce residential energy burdens.


Michelle Hilscher, PhD, Director, BEworks
Michelle holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Toronto, where she completed research on belief bias and decision-making. At BEworks, Michelle helps clients in the energy and financial services sectors to develop strategies that put behavioral science principles into action. Michelle previously taught at the University of Toronto and has been an invited speaker at events coordinated by organizations including the Alberta Energy Regulator, OECD, Global Affairs Canada, the Gates Foundation, and the Investment Funds Institute of Canada. Michelle has a particular interest in helping organizations to think scientifically about their challenges and develop unique evidence-based strategies

Sarah Carpentier, PhD, Associate, Ideation & Design Lab, BEworks
Sarah Carpentier holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, where her work was nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Also at the University of Toronto, she has been a frequent lecturer on psychology and research methods in undergraduate and graduate courses. Her academic work at Baycrest Health Sciences Centre focuses on information processing in the brain and how our past experiences are represented in brain networks to create the contexts in which we live.

Climate Change in the Time of Coronavirus

Thursday, April 16, 1:00 – 2:15 PM Eastern

As a community devoted to a sustainable planet, BECC could not ignore the impact that COVID-19 is having on human behavior and its relationship to our climate. Join us to explore how COVID is affecting our climate, lessons for climate from COVID, and opportunities for climate action in the wake of this global pandemic. You will also have a chance to share your own thoughts and ideas and let us know what YOU think we should be doing as a community to address this issue.


Chris Jones, Director of the CoolClimate Network at the University of California, Berkeley
Chris led the development of the first carbon footprint calculators to account for the GHG emissions of all transportation, energy, food, goods, and services purchased by households and businesses. He is in his eleventh year as Program Chair of the Behavior, Energy & Climate Change (BECC) Conference.

Beth Karlin, Founder and CEO of See Change Institute
See Change Institute works with government, private, and non-profit organizations on strategy, research, implementation, and evaluation of behavior-based programs for social change. She’s currently working on efforts to improve vaccination rates, engage young people in science, build resilient food systems, and stem anthropogenic climate change.

Gernot Wagner, Associate Professor at New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies
Gernot Wagner is a clinical associate professor at New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies and associated clinical professor at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. Prior to joining NYU, Gernot was the founding executive director of Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program (2016 – 2019), a research associate at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a lecturer on Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard. He is the co-author of Climate Shock.

Essie Snell, Senior Manager and Lead Analyst at E Source
Essie helps lead the E Source Customer Energy Solutions research group, which focuses on emerging energy technologies, utility DSM program best practices, and strategic considerations around distributed energy resources. He has published more than 300 reports, papers, and articles on such topics as utility decarbonization, innovative energy-efficiency and load-management technologies, the energy implications of Internet-of-Things devices and systems, and the evolving utility business model.

Nudging the commute: Applying behavioral insights to transportation demand management

Monday, March 30, 2:30 PM Eastern

The next major innovation for transformation demand management (TDM) is behavioral science, which applies both economics and psychology to understand – and change – how people make decisions. Researchers and TDM practitioners are increasingly using behavioral science findings to change how people commute.
In this webinar, you’ll hear from one of North America’s leading researchers who works across the academic and private sectors about what behavioral science can tell us about why people drive, and why it’s so hard to change their behavior. You will also learn about the latest wave of research coming from cities and public agencies that looks at how evidence based “nudges” can get people out of their cars and onto bikes, buses, and walking shoes. Finally, we will discuss our shared industry agenda and upcoming partnerships among researchers and practitioners.

Speaker: Ashley Whillans, PhD, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
In both 2015 and 2018 Ashley Whillans was named a Rising Star of Behavioral Science by the International Behavioral Exchange. In 2017, she started a “nudge unit” in the British Columbia Provincial Government where she looked at how to use behavioral science to encourage large-scale policy change. She has published her research in numerous academic journals and popular media outlets including Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Her new book “Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time & Live a Happier Life” is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be published by Harvard Business Publishing in October 2020.

Engaging non-experts: Visual storytelling for your data

Tuesday, February 25, 3:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern

You probably know that visuals are good at grabbing an audience’s attention. Did you know that people following directions with illustrations do more than 3x better than people following text directions alone?
Visuals (including data visualization, infographics, and visual storytelling) are an important method of showing complex systems – and they can be a useful tool to inspire action with your audiences. This session is an introduction to applying visual narrative to your data – including lots of examples.
Learn how you can translate your research, data, and other environmental information into visuals to increase engagement.

Speaker: Arlene Birt, Founder & Visual Storyteller, Background Stories and Associate Professor, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Arlene Birt is founder and chief visual storyteller of Background Stories ( Arlene works with environment-focused organizations in the US, EU, and UK to translate complex ideas, systems, and metrics into clear visuals that help people (especially non-experts) understand sustainability. An expert in information visualization and narrative, visual storytelling for sustainability, Arlene develops creative community engagement and integrates behavior change principles into her work. Arlene is also a professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, teaching courses on infodesign, data visualization and sustainability since 2008. She is a Climate Reality Leader and is always on the lookout for opportunities to create participatory, data-focused public artwork.

The Dragons of Inaction, And How to Slay Them

Wednesday, January 29, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Eastern

Most people now understand that environmental problems are also human problems; we cause them, and it is our job to fix them. Yet many people, even those of us who have the best of intentions, are still not doing enough in their own lives to help. Why is that? How can the gap between good intentions and effective behavior be closed?

Speaker: Dr. Robert Gifford, Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada
Robert Gifford is an environmental psychologist who is Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Professor Gifford is the author of 140 refereed publications and book chapters, and five editions of Environmental psychology: Principles and practice. His new book (as editor) is Research methods for environmental psychology. He was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology for 14 years, and has served as President of the Environmental Psychology division of the International Association of Applied Psychology, APA’s Population and Environment Division, and CPA’s environmental section. He tries to grow roses and vegetables at his rocky hillside home, but the deer and raccoons think he is growing them for their benefit.

Hack Your Program Design: Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Creative Problem Solving
Shift critical thinking into high gear by learning ways to apply design thinking and generate and embrace new ideas.

September 18, 1:30 – 2:30 Eastern Time, 10:30 Pacific

It is easy to leave well-enough alone, live with the mundane or settle for the off-the-shelf product or program. It’s safe, tried, true, and tested. But it rarely generates anything new, and there might be some ingredients in the package that aren’t working for you

Sometimes a little strategic disruption is needed to break through the status quo and develop something that is at best, truly innovative and at worst, a much better solution for the problems you’re facing. Today you will learn a few simple ways to become the unbalanced force to disrupt the inertia and wring out new and provocative ideas that might not be comfortable and safe but may very well advance the needle on results.

During this webcast you will learn:
  • Two ways to avoid premature evaluation and stay curious and creative.
  • Three simple tricks to hack your brain to generate more ideas and spot opportunities.
  • How and why you should invite strangers and design thinking into your life.
  • Advice on how to get the most out of the collective knowledge, facts, and data made available at BECC.
Can change be as simple as a handshake away!


Susan Norris, Principal Product Manager Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Susan works with internal teams made up of stakeholders at every level of an organization to embrace their potential as original thinkers and drive real change within their organizations. Her strategic design framework blends social science and design to identify opportunities and develop solutions that are aimed at the right problems and go beyond the status quo.


Gene Rodrigues, Vice President ICF
Gene Rodrigues has more than 23 years of experience in the utility energy efficiency business. Prior to joining ICF, he served as senior director of demand side management strategy for Southern California Edison. He also serves in an advisory capacity to numerous initiatives, including as a member of the executive leadership group for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Agency led State Energy Efficiency Action Network.

Scale-up Climate Solutions From Tens of Thousands to Millions of Change Agents Globally

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Recording: policy change the solution to climate change? Speeding up the process of GHG abatement from the current level of about 1% to the 5% needed to reach U.S. goals is arguably the most important challenge of the 21st century.

Policy alone is insufficient to meet this challenge. Despite more than a decade of aggressive climate policy, California’ s emissions have changed very little relative to the United States overall. Individual and collective behavior must play an important role to scale up needed change. Climate change is the consequence of countless daily decisions by individuals, households, businesses, communities, and governments. What is the potential to scale up adoption of low-carbon technologies and practices at all of these scales?

This webinar will explain carbon footprints, discuss how they vary over time and space, and provide examples of how to scale up climate solutions to millions of change agents across the United States and the world.

Moderator: Reuven Sussman, PhD
Reuven Sussman is the Senior Research Manager, Behavior & Human Dimensions Program, at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).


Speaker: Christopher M. Jones, PhD
Chris Jones is Director of the CoolClimate Network at the University of California, Berkeley. Chris led the development of the first carbon footprint calculators to account for the GHG emissions of all transportation, energy, food, goods, and services purchased by households and businesses. This comprehensive method, called consumption-based greenhouse gas accounting, powers a suite of online tools that allow households, businesses, and communities to estimate their complete carbon footprints, compare their results to similar users, and develop personalized climate action plans to reduce their contribution to climate change. Versions of these tools have been adopted by governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations throughout the United States and internationally. CoolClimate also develops and evaluates programs to engage, educate, motivate, and empower individuals to take climate action. Examples include the Cool Campus Challenge and the CoolCalifornia Challenge. He is in his ninth year as Program Chair of the Behavior, Energy & Climate Change (BECC) Conference.

Utilities Investing in Behavior Change

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Residential behavior programs are providing a larger share of total utility portfolio savings than ever before, but what does the future hold for these programs? We’ve got the inside scoop on how utilities across the industry are approaching behavior programs, how behavior program spending and savings trends have changed over the past several years, and what this means for future behavior programs.

In this web conference, we’ll present an overview of the current utility behavior program landscape, then share case studies of utilities that have put behavioral principles into action within home energy report programs as well as outside of them. Learn how to drive deeper savings and improve the customer experience by including commitments, prompts, follow-through, and other elements in your programs, and get our take on the future of behavior programs.

Beth Fitzjarrald, Senior Manager of Customer Energy Solutions, E Source

Storytelling for a (Climate) Change

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
1:30 – 2:30 pm EDT

Storytelling is a powerful tool to engage, educate, and empower people to take action on climate change. Research has found that stories are more interesting, understandable, and persuasive than other forms of communication. And best of all? Anybody can do it! Learn from communications and climate change expert Dr. Beth Karlin about how you can integrate storytelling into your work. It’s easier (and more fun) than you might think.

Moderator: Reuven Sussman, PhD
Dr. Reuven Sussman, is the Senior Research Manager, Behavior & Human Dimensions Program, at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Reuven conducts research on energy efficiency behavior change programs and organizes the annual conference on Behavior, Energy & Climate Change (BECC). He has authored academic papers and book chapters on the psychology of climate change, behavioral interventions to encourage energy efficiency, and the psychological determinants of pro-environmental behavior.

Speaker: Beth Karlin, PhD
Dr. Beth Karlin is the founder and CEO of See Change Institute, which works with government, private, and non-profit organizations on strategy, research, implementation, and evaluation of behavior-based programs for social change. She’s currently working on efforts to improve vaccination rates, engage young people in science, build resilient food systems, and stem anthropogenic climate change.

When you finish an audit, your job is done. Right? Well maybe not!

Webinar recording: Click here
Recorded on Thursday, Apr 18, 2019 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT

To find out what motivates energy audit action, we analyzed 45 sample audit reports with the help of behavioral scientists, graphic designers, and auditors, as well as doing an eye-tracking study, readability assessment, and customer survey with more than 600 audit recipients. This webinar shows what turns an audit report and presentation into action and what does not.
  • Dr. Reuven Sussman, Senior Manager of the Behavior and Human Dimensions Program ACEEE (psychology and behavioral science, lead author)
  • Dr. Beth Karlin, Director of See Change Institute (psychology and behavioral science)
  • Harrison Grubbs, Director of Strategic Partnerships at KSV (marketing and graphic design)
  • Greg Thomas, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Performance Systems Development (energy assessment and report design software)

Behavior Change 101: Theory and Practice

Webinar recording:
PowerPoint presentation:

BECC Webinar and SMANA Networking Event at ACEEE
March 6, 2019


Reuven Sussman
Sr. Manager, Behavior and Human Dimensions Program
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Dr. Beth Karlin,
Director of See Change Institute