Session: Culture and Society Nexus

Cultural Sustainability Stream


Day 1, Parallel Session 1B: 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Conference Room 2, Level 7, Room 8

Chair: Kim Dunphy (Cultural Development Network)


Alberto Garza Barragán Rebranding Sustainability in South Africa

  • Presenter and main author: Alberto Garza Barragán (University of Melbourne)
  • Abstract: The current analytical and fear-based communication strategies used to motivate sustainable behaviours have shown not to be sufficient or determinant. The reasons may range from deficient educational methods to differences in socio-economic context of the target audience. In any case, it is true that these strategies have not been accurately tuned to the human mind. The purpose of this study is to obtain further insight into the opportunities from the advertising industry that could improve the effectiveness of sustainable communication strategies using the South African market. The author reports on an experiment in which a sustainable behaviour is promoted using different cultural appeals. The paper will determine whether collectivist appeals represent an opportunity to re-brand sustainability in South Africa, thriving on the passion of the possibilities that can be achieved and becoming aspirational, rather than avoidable-negative based.
  • Co-authors: Elena Bondareva (University of Melbourne) and Dr Dominique Hes (University of Melbourne)
  • About the presenter: Alberto Garza Barragán is an environmental consultant with a background in energy analysis and project management. He holds a degree in Engineering Physics from Tec de Monterrey, and is currently completing the Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in energy modelling and sustainable design for buildings. His work and research experience has helped him develop a strong theoretical and practical foundation in building physics and environmental engineering. He is passionate about exploring opportunities beyond the design and energy performance of the built environment, looking to promote social engagement and enable behaviour change.
Goli Habibi The Nexus Between Endorsement of Ubuntu, Connnectedness to Nature and Pro-environmental Behaviour

  • Presenter and main author: Goli Habibi (University of Melbourne)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between endorsement of the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu, connection to nature, and environmentally significant behaviour, in the context of Pretoria, South Africa. Study 1 comprised of thirty face-to-face structured interviews with everyday Pretorians, to assist with theory development, enhance understanding of the research context, ensure formulation of pertinent questionnaire items and allow for accurate interpretation and analysis of data. Study 2 included an online questionnaire to further explore the relation between these three components. A total of 83 students of the University of Pretoria completed the survey. Results showed significant correlations between endorsement of Ubuntu and connection to nature (rho= .47). Whilst pro-environmental behaviour was not related to endorsement of Ubuntu (rho = .18), it correlated significantly with connection to nature (rho = .33). The findings are consistent with studies demonstrating a relationship between connection to nature and environmentally significant behaviour. Moreover, they lend weight to studies suggesting cultural elements forces can influence individuals’ sense of connection to nature.
  • About the presenter: Goli is originally from Iran but grew up in the Netherlands. She lived in Dubai for four years and worked for a procurement consultancy firm before she decided to go back to university in Melbourne. She has a bachelor degree in Business Administration but decided to change direction as she witnessed the effects of the liberal economic model on the natural environment in the UAE. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she has made so far as she has thoroughly enjoyed the last year and a half of her two-year Master of Environments degree.