Paula Owen

Paula Owen

Role

Director, Paula Owen Consulting

Location

London-wide

"To me, sustainable living is a design for life that has a guiding principle of living well, but lightly; replacing as much as you take and, ideally, giving back more. Sustainable development aims to minimise the damage that is an inevitable by-product of living a modern, 21st century lifestyle, and sustainable living means being mindful of the effect that your actions have on people, spaces and species around you; fulfilling 'needs' but recognising 'wants' for what they are."

The Project
My proposal is rooted in my belief that individual behavioural change is a crucial component for a more sustainable future. However, the established methods of trying to influence and change behaviour to more environmentally friendly activities have frequently been perceived as judgemental in manner, hectoring in tone, and focused on the negative, rather than creating the idea that a more sustainable lifestyle is appealing, fun and aspirational.

Over the past year, I have been exploring the emerging theory of 'gamification' - the idea of using games and fun activities to encourage behavioural change in many diverse aspects of life. I have developed a few sustainability focused games that I have successfully used for training purposes in companies and schools.

So my London Leaders project will be to investigate exactly how effective the idea of using games is to help educate people in more sustainable living; and whether such an approach can influence attitudes and, most importantly, can they help change behaviours.

What does being a London Leader mean to you?
I have lived in London for almost 20 years and now consider myself a fully-fledged Londoner. I love this city and cannot think of a more exciting opportunity than to act as a London Leader, and hopefully do my bit to make London a leading light in sustainable living.

What's your past experience?
I have worked in sustainability for 20 years. After completing a PhD in Climate Change Chemistry, I began a career focusing on the communication of environmental issues. Working for the British Library, I developed its environmental information services. I then joined Forum for the Future where I created a methodology to evaluate the sustainability of a wide range of initiatives, products and services.

More recently I worked for Energy Saving Trust, Defra and DECC, where I authored a number of publications investigating domestic energy use and carbon emissions. I was project lead on the development of the UK government's Act on CO2 carbon calculator; this award-winning website reached millions and proved to be an effective tool for promoting pro-environmental behaviour change.

I am now an independent researcher, author and trainer on matters relating to environmental sustainability and work with a diverse range of companies and organisations. Projects range from employee engagement programmes, developing metrics for carbon tools, researching and authoring reports and developing games.