Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Changing the way we behave....

I read an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine recently entitled 'Why Isn't the Brain Green' by Jon Gertner. Although it gets quite technical in terms of behavioral psychology, I think the basic question Gertner asks is intriguing. Why aren't we all more concerned about climate change? Why is there very little sense of urgency among the majority of the population?

I don't know the answer to this. I just know that personally, inaction is often due to a combination of ignorance and laziness. As the article concludes, unfortunately, human beings don't always act in their own/society's best interests. Hence the need for greater incentives and stricter laws. I am no fan of being told what to do but sometimes it seems to me that if we can't be trusted to help ourselves, we need some significant pushes in the right direction...


  1. I know what you mean. After having a family, I started becoming more conscious of the harm we can do to them and to the planet so tried to mend my ways and be more sustainable. Then the credit crunch comes along and sometimes saving money trumps saving the environment. One of the problems for me are that the messages that go out about ethical living and sustainability can focus too heavily upon the negatives and eventually the doom and gloom gets too much and you're tipped towards an attitude of "It doesn't matter what I do as we're all doomed!". Carrots and sticks are needed. Choice editing can be good as well, so as consumers, we can only buy the better choices as the manufacturers are taxed so heavily by governments on nasty products that they naturally shift towards producing more sustainable products in the first place and phase out the nasty stuff. We need these better choices to be mainstreamed, including public transport which I seldom use as I can't rely on it and with children, certainty is what you need. I will continue to wobble along the way and buy the cheap and nasty dishwasher detergent sometimes so we can save some money, but will also dry the reusable nappies on the washing line or clothes airer. :-)

  2. I totally agree. It is very easy to get depressed about what we're not doing but sometimes it is difficult, especially when the 'green' or 'ethical' choice is often the more expensive one. Lets hope that as more and more green options become available, we no longer have to choose between cheap and nasty or expensive and nice!