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Want to Promote Greener Living? Try Emoticons

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PeterJ
PeterJ  
3/29/2014 8:11:21 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hey, whatever works
That is something I hadn't thought about befoe - how sometimes data like that is depersonalized and we don't find it relevant. And I don't think the comparisons are often accurate. When utilities offer an energy assessment and give you real usage data, then you have something to work with and act upon.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
3/29/2014 8:05:54 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hey, whatever works
I do think the "nudge" stays with you, and when repeated enough times it begins to have some effect. Yes, for some it may never register, but those will never get the point. I think the same can be said for depoits on bottles. It's less about the economic incentive and more about most people wanting to do their part.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
3/26/2014 9:38:23 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Hey, whatever works
Re the plastic bag issue, Resurgent Phoenix, I wonder if it simply a question of learning new habits. Even though supermarkets charge for plastic bags, the cost is so tiny I don't imagine there's much financial incentive not to use them, unless you're a real penny watcher. But it's a little nudge, a reminder everytime you're asked if you want a bag, that you could be choosing a greener solution. 

Hopefully with sufficient nudges people switch. The alternative is that they become so used to the question, they stop thinking about it...

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
3/25/2014 5:02:23 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hey, whatever works
Yup, Resurgent phoenix, and I think one reason it works well is that it turns the "duty" of adhering to speed limits (and thus conserving fuel) into a painless game, for however many miles the motorist manages to stay on limit. I wonder how can we extrapolate that game model to reducing costs across utilities? Peer pressure may be a way to nicely exploit human nature. If I see my average electrical consumptiong were in the red zone but that of my neighbors' was in the green, I wouldn't necessarily even need to know their names to think, HEY! I can be just as green as they can, and start trimming my water usage here, my electrical there...

 

 

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
3/25/2014 4:57:33 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hey, whatever works
So, just like in yoga or running alone, trying to improve over your last practice or workout can be sufficient motivation, Susan, whether or not you know, say, how many workouts your neighbor does. That's just like me slowing down when I see the posted speed sign versus the speed I am actually going; in the end I am only competing with myself. 

I have successfull ingrained turning off lights in empty rooms in my house (possibly leading to a dip in my family's electric bill) and am trying to model that for my son! He is a little bit afraid of the dark, though (possibly leading to a little spike in the same bill, sigh).

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
3/24/2014 6:27:32 PM
User Rank City Slicker
Re: Hey, whatever works
When I see those speed monitors I do the same thing. It has to be a continuous process to encourage sustained behavior.

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
3/24/2014 6:25:43 PM
User Rank City Slicker
Re: Hey, whatever works
Money talks...your comment reminded me of the fact that when you impact people financially and they feel it, itwill cause change. The ones still using the plastic bags may think they can afford that habit.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
3/13/2014 12:07:55 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Hey, whatever works
Yes, I'm definitely more conscious about lingering in the shower or letting the kitchen tap run. And it's easy to see the results of that new awareness -- the water bill has dipped slightly. That direct correlation is really gratifying. I don't have to imagine I'm being more conscientious, it's right there on paper.

So even without any ability to compare our usage to our neighbors, the bill itself is incentive enough.  

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
3/13/2014 12:07:17 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hey, whatever works
I tend to think it is easier to adopt new, greener habits than that, kq4ym. In DC four years ago, a nickel cost was instituted for each plastic grocery bag consumers carted home groceries in, in the hopes that folks would start bringing reusable bags. The money gathered was earmarked for cleaning up our local rivers, the Anacostia and the Potomac, both of which were somewhat bag-clogged. It took a month or more, but I broke my disposable bag habit and noted that a lot of my friends did, too. 

A recent article in the Post, however, suggests that the bags are still generating significant revenue, which would argue against widespread behavior change like the kind I tackled. So yay - money is still coming in for pollution mitigation, but boo - many consumers are still plastic-bag habituated. Upside and downside coexisiting. 

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
3/13/2014 11:58:24 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hey, whatever works
Would that that were the case in the US, Susan! It would be eye-opening for so many American consumers. Have the water bills you get in Spain reshaped your water usage? 

Some states - like California - will fine you for watering your lawn at certain times of day. Although with the current drought, I  imagine all such lawncare is off the table. 

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