Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference

Event Details

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Panel #24
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Faith-Based Communities Respond to Climate Change: How Can Behavior Analysis Help?
Sunday, August 5, 2012
10:40 AM–12:00 PM
Great Hall Meeting Room 3
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Timothy E. Heron, Ph.D.
Chair: Timothy E. Heron (The Ohio State University)
Discussant: Richard F. Rakos (Cleveland State University)
CRAIG FOSTER (Ohio Interfaith Power and Light)
SARA WARD (Ohio Interfaith Power and Light)

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light (OhIPL) promotes energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy by challenging religious communities to:

  • Communicate with members about the morality of climate change
  • Conduct an energy audit of their church, synagogue, temple, mosque, or other physical facilities and reduce energy consumption by at least 10%
  • Install or purchase renewable or ‘green’ power from utilities
  • Sponsor ecological footprint education programs
  • Advocate for stronger environmental protection policies
  • Promote public mass transportation, bicycling, and walk-able communities

Mr. Foster and Ms. Ward will present a brief history of OhIPL, provide examples of successful initiatives, and describe barriers they have encountered that block fuller participation by laity and clergy. They will discuss what motivates volunteers within organizations to change their behavior, linking the philosophies of faith-based communities with the realities of organizational operations (e.g., the dichotomy between the desire to affect climate change and limited investment funds to achieve energy savings).

Following the presentation, the chair and discussant will offer their perspectives on how faith-based communities can apply behavior analysis principles and procedures to enhance the effectiveness of their green energy programs. Audience members will then be invited to join a discussion of how behavior analysis can help faith-based communities respond to climate change.

Conference attendees who plan to participate in this breakout session are asked to add this event to their personal schedules (below) to help with discussion planning.

Craig Foster, technical consultant for Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, is founder and president of Foster Energy Management. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa in 1977 and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Ohio. Craig has over 33 years experience as an engineer and manager. His experience spans many areas of facility design, optimization, and management, including energy management auditing and implementation, utility management, building design and operation, water treatment and waste water treatment plant design and operation, and solar thermal installations. Craig has worked as an engineering consultant for a gas and electric utility and in facilities management and engineering for a major manufacturer. He also has 15 years experience managing environmental, health, and safety programs in an industrial setting. Craig is also a deacon in the Episcopal Church. Ordained in 2007, he serves St. John’s Episcopal Church in Columbus where he is involved in ministry to the homeless and marginally housed through Street Church and His Place. He has helped lead an effort of the BREAD organization in Columbus to reduce neighborhood blight through formation of a funded Community Land Re-utilization Corporation. Craig is also deeply committed to Kairos Prison Ministry and the issues surrounding those returning to society after being incarcerated. He dreams of having the Chapel at North Central Correctional Complex become a member of OhIPL.

Timothy E. Heron, professor emeritus at The Ohio State University, received his doctorate in special education from Temple University in 1976. Dr. Heron also served for 17 years as an educational consultant to Children's Hospital Learning Disability Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to his appointment at OSU, Dr. Heron was a developmental and day care supervisor and teacher for children with neurological, behavioral, and social disabilities.He has published several books, including Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition (with John Cooper and Bill Heward), presented numerous papers at professional conferences, and consulted with parents and practitioners on issues related to disabilities and applied behavior analysis. A certified flight instructor, Tim uses behavior principles in teaching the next generation of aviators.

Richard F. Rakos received his BA (1972) in psychology from SUNY Stony Brook and his MA (1975) and PhD (1978) in psychology from Kent State University. He is professor of psychology and associate dean for faculty in the College of Sciences and Health Professions at Cleveland State University. He has published extensively on assertive behavior and social skills, behavioral self-management, cultural-behavioral analyses related to societal change, and belief in free will. Dr. Rakos edited Behavior and Social Issues for 11 years and currently serves as consulting editor for BSI. He recently rotated off the editorial board of Law and Human Behavior after 10 years of service, twice served on the editorial board of The Behavior Analyst, and for many years served as co-chair of Behaviorists for Social Responsibility and as area coordinator for the Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues track on the ABAI Program Committee. He is a fellow in APA and on the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Sara Ward, director of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, is one of its original steering committee members and previously served as the advocacy chair of the board. She is presently involved in the 2012 Class of the Green Faith Fellowship program, a comprehensive education and training program to prepare lay and ordained leaders from diverse religious traditions for environmental leadership. Sara serves as the Earthkeeping Task Force Chair of the Southern Ohio Synod, ELCA and the Chair of the Green Team in her home congregation of First English Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio.

In 1982 Ms. Ward established (and served as the chief until 1992) the Office of Weatherization within the Ohio Department of Development. Her office administered the statewide Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program, which provided energy saving services to hundreds of thousands of low-income households. From 1992 until 2007, Ms. Ward served as director of the Energy Office in the Ohio Department of Development, responsible for oversight of the State’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. In 1996 Ms. Ward was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to serve as vice-chair on the State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB). From 2003 until 2005 Ms. Ward served as the chair for the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), and from 2001 until 2007 was a founding board member and board secretary of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA). She received the 2008 Inspiring Efficiency Chairman’s Award from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and the 2007 Public Official of the Year award from Green Energy Ohio.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

BACB-behavior analysts and licensed psychologists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:

1.     Describe how to overcome the barriers that often prevent clergy members from participating in green programs.

2.     List specific ways to encourage faith-based communities to enable sustainable practices.

3.     Motivate volunteers to change their behavior to be more sustainable.



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