Making Shift Happen

Designing for Successful Environmental Behavior Change

To tackle our urgent environmental problems and achieve positive, durable change, we must design solutions based directly on how people think, make decisions, and act. Whether you’re a practitioner or want to change your own behavior, Making Shift Happen is a roadmap that empowers you with tools to transform the world.

By: Nya Van Leuvan, Lauren Highleyman, Rod Fujita, Ashleigh Kellerman

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The changemaker’s guide to catalyzing environmental behaviour change for a healthy future

To tackle our urgent environmental problems and achieve positive, durable change, we must design solutions based directly on how people think, make decisions, and act.

From hotels that save water and money using simple signage, to energy suppliers that boost participation in renewable energy programs through mere enrollment form tweaks—shifting the behavior of millions for the better is possible.

Based on decades of research into what drives behavior change, Making Shift Happen provides a suite of powerful tools to transform the world. It features A to Z guidance on how to design a behavior change initiative—from choosing the right audience and uncovering what drives their behavior, to designing, prototyping, testing, and implementation.

Clear instructions and real-world examples empower you to apply hundreds of behavioral science solutions including:

  • Using social norms to spread positive environmental behaviors
  • Selecting and testing stories, metaphors, and values to frame information for each audience
  • Catalyzing action by aligning your initiative with your audience’s personal and social motivators
  • Breaking bad habits and building positive ones
  • Capturing your audience’s attention and reducing barriers to action
  • Connecting people with nature and building empathy for the environment and its inhabitants.

Making Shift Happen is a must-have guide for practitioners in non-profits, governments, and businesses looking to design successful campaigns and initiatives that shift behaviors and mindsets toward positive environmental outcomes and a better future for all.


  • GOLD | 2023 Nautilus Book Awards | Social Sciences & Education

About The Author(s)

Ashleigh Kellerman is a Senior Associate at Root Solutions where she focuses on framing and messaging for improved environmental communication and behavior change. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley with a background in Psychology and Economics. She lives in Berkeley, CA.

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Nya Van Leuvan, MA, is a leader in designing and executing programs that accelerate social change by shifting human behavior. She co-founded and directs the not-for-profit Root Solutions to increase the effectiveness of conservation advocacy and policymaking through the use of behavior change, design thinking, and systems thinking. She holds an MA from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She’s from San Francisco, California.

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Lauren Highleyman, MS, is a communications and behavior change strategist with experience designing and implementing effective and engaging initiatives across a variety of environmental issue areas. She is passionate about applying insights from the social and behavioral sciences to inspire action and strengthen collaboration among diverse environmental stakeholders. She holds an MS in Natural Resources and Environment with a focus in Environmental Behavior, Education and Communication from the University of Michigan and a BA from UC San Diego. She lives in Marin County, CA.

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Rod Fujita, PhD, is a leader in the theory and practice of aligning incentives with good conservation outcomes. He co-founded Root Solutions and is the Director of Research and Development at Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program, where he has been working to improve fisheries for more than 30 years. Rod has served on numerous state, regional, federal, and international advisory bodies and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, as well as many popular articles and the well-received book, Heal the Ocean. He lives in Oakland, California.

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Book Awards

GOLD | 2023 Nautilus Book Awards | Social Sciences & Education

Book Specifications

ISBN: 9780865719484

Page Count: 544

Dimensions: 7.5 × 8.875 × 0.91 in

Publication Date: January 11, 2022

Images: Black & White Images

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