Sunday, August 1, 2010

3 Reasons People Don't Go Green


SHOCKING! In case you haven’t noticed, what people say and what people do are often very different.

Ok, so human nature is not new, but the Shelton Group’s Eco Pulse 2010 is. And its findings on the public’s view of the environment and green products are . . . surprising.

  • Like 65% of those surveyed wouldn’t give up their iPod to save the environment
  • Like packaging that uses the words “made with naturally biodegradable materials” works best
  • Like cosmetics that mentions the amount of energy used to make the product sells best
  • Like specifically stating “made with wind power” gets a better consumer response than “made with renewable energy”

Now, being a student of psychology and communication (otherwise known as education) – I like to think of this as a starting point. This is not a fixed opinion, but is open to persuasion.

But to persuade, you first have to understand your audience. What are their biases, their preferences, their viewpoint?

Here are three essential reasons people don’t go green:

1. Choosing what’s easy instead of the the big wins. To impact people’s decisions, it’s essential to realize: we are not wholly rational beings. Most of us will agree that the environment is something to protect, that it’s the “right thing to do”, but that doesn’t mean we will respond to a logical analysis of our home by installing an energy efficient furnace. We must connect emotionally first before convincing with reason.

To have a big impact on your own lifestyle, it is ESSENTIAL to identify the big wins. We are so subject to the emotional appeal of peer pressure and marketing that it’s hard not to choose what’s easy. But, as I outline in the Smarter Living Framework, the big wins must be emotionally meaningful to start to have an impact, let alone last for years. The only way to do this is to integrate sustainability with the life goals you already have.

Ask yourself, have you completed a personal Green 101 Course? Look at the right sidebar of this web page. Have you done the top 10 things listed there? Have you automated your house, so you minimize your impact without thinking about it?

2. Doing what’s right means a drop in the quality of their life. If you value showing your children how to do the right thing, if you value a healthy home, then consciously arranging your lifestyle to align with these does not mean a drop in your quality of life, it actually means an increase in it!

The quality of your life is improved when you are making conscious decisions on how to allocate and use your resources, like time and money.

3. Believing the price is not worth the value. If you think that your iPod provides more value than the environment, then you are not (yet) being convinced by the price/value argument you’re presented with right now. The iPod is valued because so many people that you know have it, because it’s easy to upload any music, because it’s easy to carry around, and because it’s beautiful. But deep down what makes an iPod so successful is because the value it really provides is freedom. Music while roaming freely. Freedom to choose the music. You can tell a lot about a person by the music they have on their iPod. The iPod signifies your identity, but gives you a platform of free choice on how to do it.

What value does living a green lifestyle provide?

How to be Truly Empowered

Truly empowered people know that they have limited resources and focus it on the things that matter. Beginners try to use tips on everything and make very little impact. In fact, using tips without a strategy actually sets you up for failure.

Where do you see yourself? Are you able to overcome what’s easy to make an important impact? What would your response be if your child asked you, “What are we doing to protect the environment?”

Before you go, leave your answer to the question above: “What value does living a green life provide?”

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