Welcome to Behaviorbabe

Ethical Advocate for Accurate Application & Dissemination of Behavior Analysis

#NoStraw4Me 

I'm going strawless in 2017! JOIN ME! For the past several months, I've been making a conscious effort to avoid single-use plastic items, specifically plastic straws. They come in our iced coffee, in our water when we're out at dinner, and in our drinks when we're at the bar. As behavior analysts, we have the tools we need to impact positive, personal, sustainable behavior change. The group will discuss behavioral principles related to such behavior change. 

My hope is that by being part of the group, members will develop and refine their understanding and application of ABA to everyday challenges. Hopefully, we will better understand the struggles associated with sustainable behavior change, better enabling us to help others do the same! 

#NoStraw4Me started as a personal campaign. See a problem, find a solution! Each day I walk the beaches where I live picking up trash. While using any single-use item is bad for the environment (e.g., paper = trees --> deforestation), plastics are a larger threat (in my immediate world) as they do not break down and biodegrade. Even with this at the front of my mind, I still find myself getting a straw in my drink at the local coffee shop (when I forget to bring my reusable container), or when I sit down at a restaurant and they bring my water with a straw already in it. I realized wanting change to occur is not the same as ensuring it will. 


So, for 2017 I decided to identify one small, specific, measurable behavior that I could change. I decided to post on Behaviorbabe incase others wanted to join me in my journey! 

Data Collection / "Accidental Straws"

How will you MEASURE change? One simple way is through permanent product recording. 


Create a designated place to collect the straws you unintentionally accumulate throughout the year (it's likely to happen). Put the container in a place where you will see it daily.


"We must not forget that some of Skinner’s most important discoveries (e.g., shaping, chaining, intermittent reinforcement) were not the result of formal research designs but of looking for lawful processes and being alert ‘‘to take advantage of accidents’’ by following the data (Skinner, 1956/1982, p. 97).


When you find something interesting, he said, drop everything else and study it. Some would call this ‘‘thinking outside the box,’’ but environmentalist Amory Lovins (in Kolbert, 2007) came closer to the mark when he said, ‘‘There is no box’’ (p. 35)."

Paul Chance & William Heward
Climate Change: Meeting the Challenge (pg. 197)

Antecedent Manipulations

One antecedent strategy is to rehearse what we will say. Having a go-to phrase, something catchy to remind us to tell others we're straw free! That's how the "#NoStraw4Me" motto came to be.

Another helpful antecedent technique is the use textual/visual cues, which is why I created and ordered a stack of these stickers. If you would like one, message me and we can set up payment. Each sticker is 2 in x 2 in, $1.00 each (covers cost of sticker and postage).

If you prefer to print the image yourself, you have permission to do so!

SHOW ME THE DATA - Make Every Day Earth Day!

Happy #Earthday (😊🌏 today and everyday)! Did you know, Americans use disposable utensils at an average of 1.6 straws per day! Based on national averages, each person in the US uses approximately 38,000 straws between the ages of 5-65!


In our #nostraw4me challenge, we have just passed our 100th day (112th day to be exact). Given that today is Earth Day, I figured it would be as good a day as any to do some math (what behavior analyst doesn't ❤️data)!


Due to a systematic application of #behavioranalysis techniques, I am proud to report that I have only accumulated 7 straws in the past 112 days, which averages 1 straw per 16 days. If you take the number of (112) days and multiply the average number of straws accumulated per person per day (1.6), you would get a total of 179.2 straws PER PERSON! If you take the total 179.2 straws anticipated and subtract the 7 straws accumulated, I have acquired a total of 172.9 FEWER straws in the past 112 days than the average American!


NOW, if you multiply the average number of straws in 112 days by the 200 people in our group, we would have used an average of 35,840 straws since the start of 2017! MIND-BOGGLING!Remember what we've discussed regarding direct vs indirect measures and which one yields the most useful results. Even with that said these estimates and averages provide us with some very useful context. LOOK at the cumulative impact WE are making! You matter! This matters! Every little bit matters!

Every Straw has a Story

Day 162 (6/12/2017): 162 days x 1.6 straws per day (for the average person), which equals = 259 straws in total. 259 straws minus the eight (8) I unsuccessfully acquired, equals 251 straws saved by me thus far this year!


Straw 1 - Week 1 "Waiter WAIT" 1/4/2017
Water with a straw was brought to us as soon as we (Leasha and I) sat down. We sat and ate at the bar at Sansei Waikiki, since there was a long wait for a table.

Proximity to the ocean: across the street, literally


Straws 2 & 3 - Week 1 "Stir it Up" 1/4/2017
Same night at Sansei Waikiki, I ordered a cocktail and said "#NoStraw4me". My drink not only came with a straw, it came with two! TWO small plastic stirring straws! Straw 3 on the 4th day of my new resolution. Can we call this baseline?

Straws 4 & 5 - Week 1 "Shaken not stirred" 1/5/2017
Back at Sansei Waikiki. Second night this week. This time we sat outside. We adamantly advocated with our waiter. Each saying, "#nostraw4me". As he approached our table, he realized there were straws in our drinks and tried to take them out. Leave them. The only thing worse than a single-use straw is a zero-used straw. Maybe I'll order martini's and manhattans from this point forward...?


Straw 6 - Week 3 "Sergio's Sacrificial straw" 1/21/2017
The day of the Women's March, my friend Curielle and I ate at Gordon Biersch. Our waiter, Sergio brought my drink with a straw, even though I asked him not to. To make it up to us, he didn't give any straws to the rest of his tables during our visit (unless they asked for one) and also brought us dessert on the house! I've been back to the restaurant several times and Sergio always remembers!


Proximity to the ocean: On the ocean, on dock/pier


Straw 7 - Week 16 "Make Everyday Earth Day" 4/22/2017
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport bar in Honolulu. Shari, Adam, and I, were on our way from Oahu to Maui. We sat down and ordered food, drinks. I specifically ordered a mai tai. It came with a long, thick, plastic straw. It was Earth Day of all days! Painfully timed, perfectly potent reminder. It was my first time traveling all year. I realized I needed to make adjustments for travel.


Proximity to the ocean: stone's throw


Straw 8: (week 23) "Never turn your back" 6/9/2017
After waiting at the DMV for 2 hours to get my Hawai'i drivers license, I went to Surfers Coffee Bar in Wahiawa. I ordered a cold brew and made a point to request "#NoStraw4me". "Save the turtles", I said. I even showed him the sticker on the back of my phone. He repeated my order, including the request for "no straw". I sat at the window, my back to the counter. He swooped around to the side of me and delivered my delicious drink with a #stupidstraw anyhow. Never turn your back on the ocean...


Proximity to the ocean: mere miles


Straw 9: International Mai Tai Day ...nuff said. Proximity to the ocean: 10 giant steps

This map shows the location of attendees from my webinar: "Stop Sucking and Start Saving the World with Behavior Analysis" with Behavior University. An interesting observation? All attendees live on a coast, next to, or surrounded by water. I wonder to what degree this impacts motivation/interest in the topic of sustainability (particularly decreasing straw usage). After all, we are all products of our (increasingly polluted) environment!

Learn more about ABA and Sustainability by visiting: www.behaviorbabe.com/sustainability