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Becoming FEW Conscious: A Conceptual Typology of Household Behavior Change Interventions Targeting the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Nexus

1
Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08854, USA
2
Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08854, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5034; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185034
Received: 7 August 2019 / Revised: 3 September 2019 / Accepted: 11 September 2019 / Published: 14 September 2019
The food-energy-water (FEW) nexus presents an opportunity to rethink predominant approaches to household behavior change science. We linked emerging FEW nexus research with existing literature examining household consumption and pro-environmental behaviors. While a large body of work examines the environmental impacts of household life and explores pathways to behavior change for sustainability, the literature lacks studies that test interventions in multiple FEW resource categories, leaving researchers unable to identify tensions and tradeoffs in the household system. To guide this developing field and accumulate findings on household behavior across disciplines, we proposed a conceptual typology that synthesizes interdisciplinary analytic traditions to classify behavioral interventions targeting the household FEW nexus. The typology synthesizes behavioral interventions as active, passive, or structural, and household-specific or non-specific, illustrating six distinct categories: information, tailored information, action, gamification, policy/price change, and material/technology provision. A review of 40 studies that guided the typology identifies four significant lessons for future intervention research: household non-specific information and tailored information work better together, feedback is more effective when it is persistent, price-based interventions (information or incentives) are often ineffective, and material/technology provision is very effective but utilized in few household studies. To push forward household resource consumption science, we advocated for a holistic nexus focus that is rooted in interdisciplinarity, coalition building with stakeholders, and data reporting that facilitates knowledge accumulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change mitigation; household consumption; food-energy-water nexus; pro-environmental behavior climate change mitigation; household consumption; food-energy-water nexus; pro-environmental behavior
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Berman, H.; Shwom, R.; Cuite, C. Becoming FEW Conscious: A Conceptual Typology of Household Behavior Change Interventions Targeting the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Nexus. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5034.

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