Why aren’t we shifting massively to a hippie-like lifestyle?
We know that nature is not doing so well. We also know our children may have a tough life because of the actions of previous generations. Why aren’t we concerned about what’s going on in the wild? Do we really care about the environment or are we just trying to be politically correct?
There are many psychological leverages to make people act upon something. However, we can simplify these leverages into two main camps: the eagerness to earn or the fear of loss. The latter is the strongest one.
The issue with planet awareness is people cannot really see or touch what they are losing and when they could finally anecdotally experience this loss, they will most likely no longer be with this world. On top of that, there is the bystander effect or bystander apathy which indicates people feel less concern when they know their responsibility is diluted among others. Moreover, the more “others”, the less of a push they feel to take action. This is especially true in case of aggression in a public place.
Given there are no immediate consequences of our collective actions, people are suffering from the Titanic syndrome: they carry on playing music on a sinking boat.
What can we do about that? Is any strategy from marketing that we could use to trick people? Yes, indeed.
We should work on the two psychological weak points mentioned above and twist them into ecologist avantage.
One idea would be to heavily tax non-environmental friendly products and services. Doing so we would create a direct fear of losing – money – among any consumer, they may soon change purchasing habits.
For those who can afford to pollute, they may soon feel old-fashioned and lose moral status moral in relation to the rest of the people.
Each product and service should be explicitly attached to an impact on the environment, so people would know how they contribute to worsen the situation. For example, by buying this product, it would be stated that a person has wasted 10000 liters of water, cut 700 trees, killed one animal and so forth. Doing so, the responsibility will be completely assumed by the consumer of such a product erasing the bystander effect.