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The Story of Motivational Interviewing & Enviromentum

Part 1 - Priming

Seven years ago, Vince (that's me) was carpooling with his boyfriend Jeff. Vince asked Jeff, who was studying to get his PhD in Clinical Psychology, a critical question.  I asked "How do you help people change, like when they are addicted to drugs or whatever".  Jeff responded, well I use "Motivational Interviewing".  Little else was said or at least I don't remember much else. That said, I was introduced to something that would end up changing my life forever.

Part 2 - Desperation 

My future co-founder and colleague Peter and I meet at Toronto's "People's Climate March".  We realize that we've known as a society for 40 years we need to reduce global GHG's but in 40 years the only thing that's ever reduced global GHG's was economic recession.

We spend months looking for what's missing in the environmental movement.  We come up with ideas but we realize our ideas are unlikely to make a significant difference. Close to giving up Peter suggested "Lets just go to Toronto Public Library and check out the books."  Peter and I both checked out 7 books.  I only read a few of those books because luck resulted in me taking home "The Transition Handbook".

Part 3 - Remembering

I started reading the Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins.  When I reached chapter 6 "Understanding the Psychology of Change".  A 2-page "case submission" is included in the chapter.  It looks like one of those grey-boxed excerpts in a textbook, like something written by a field expert and including by the author.  The entire chapter is about the psychology of change, and the excerpt is a Psychologist discussing the concept of change and he just so happens to mention "Motivational Interviewing". In retrospect it is clear to me that neither the Psychologist, nor Hopkins realized the incredible importance of what they had done by putting these things together.  In the position I was in, looking for something, anything that would be worth doing, I remembered when Motivational Interviewing was first mentioned to me by Jeff in Part 1.

Part 4 - Epiphany

I approached Jeff, now my husband, and asked "What is that Motivational Interviewing thing you mentioned before".  Jeff answered of course, and found a few resources for me to learn a bit about it. Jeff shared THIS VIDEO, and THIS BOOK. Peter and I both realize that Motivational Interviewing is something very special, new and was just the type of thing we were looking for. We both signed up for a distance learning MI class from HETI Maine. It was clear that MI was a key approach that environmentalists sorely needed.  From this point on, Enviromentum has had unwavering and growing commitment to the advancement of Motivational Interviewing as a Climate Change Solution.

Part 5 - The Solutions

Climate Conversations: Enviromentum engaged on delivering "Climate Conversations",

an MI-informed workshop. We invite you to read the evaluation report. This work was

delivered in collaboration with Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

Community Hubs: We led a feasibility study on the role of Community Hubs as the

centres for local climate action.  We invite you to read the accompanying report here.

SELECT: Enviromentum co-delivered multiple cohorts of the SELECT program with our partner School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario (SSE Ontario). This program empowers diverse community leaders with powerful skills and tools, building their capacity to grow their local change leadership.

TERRA, the Mobile App: Enviromentum collaborates with Ryerson University, applying behaviour change science principles in the development of mobile interventions for active transportation.

MI Training: Enviromentum trains environmental leaders including TDSB teachers, constituent lobbyists in Citizen's Climate Lobby (CCL US & CCL Canada), Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), M=multiple Drawdown groups, Friday's for Future climate strike organizers, Extinction Rebellion members, Region of Peel, and more.

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