Les Milbrath was fond of reminding me that “nature bats last.” What Les meant by this was that we live in a finite world and humanity will eventually be forced to adopt sustainable practices. While we have no choice regarding whether we eventually adopt these practices, the speed with which they are adopted will determine the grace with which we make this transition.

This book is about making the transition gracefully. It provides a comprehensive introduction to community-based social marketing and how it is being applied throughout the world to foster sustainable behavior. It introduces the five steps of communitybased social marketing (selecting behaviors, identifying barriers & benefits, developing strategies, conducting a pilot, and broad-scale implementation), and showcases numerous programs illustrating its use. In this third edition, each chapter has been updated. Further, Selecting Behaviors has been added as a new first step in community-based social marketing. As well, a new behavior change tool—social diffusion—has been added to the array of tools already covered.

Community-based social marketing draws heavily on research in social psychology, which indicates that initiatives to promote behavior change are often most effective when they are carried out at the community level and involve direct contact with people. The emergence of community-based social marketing can be traced to a growing understanding that programs that rely heavily or exclusively on media advertising can be effective in creating public awareness and understanding of issues related to sustainability, but are limited in their ability to foster behavior change.

For those who are contemplating entering this field, I would like to offer the following words of encouragement. I have been fortunate over the past twenty-five years to work at the juncture between social science knowledge and its application to sustainability. I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively discussing community-based social marketing with those who develop programs and with academics that work to advance our knowledge in this area. I have witnessed repeatedly the commitment and passion that both practitioners and academics bring to working on these issues. As daunting as our present circumstances may seem, know that there are countless individuals working on fostering sustainable behavior and that their efforts are making a difference. There are substantive and meaningful contributions to be made to the transition to sustainability. Come join us in helping humanity make this transition more gracefully.

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