If you were to walk down the street and ask five random strangers whether they believe efforts toward energy efficiency are a positive thing, chances are good they will all agree. If you ask those same five people whether it’s important to take care of our environment, they’ll likely agree again. But if you were to follow those individuals home, and track their energy usage over the course of several months, their actions may paint a very different perspective.
So why is it that people don’t practice what they preach? If people know that they should reduce their energy use and take care of the environment, why aren’t they doing it?
Part of it can simply be explained by the fact that human nature is unpredictable. We set a goal one day, and abandon it the next. We have good intentions, but other factors get in the way of following through. Some of these inhibiting variables include the amount of time, effort, or financial cost of being more environmentally friendly. People are often short-sighted when making financial choices, focusing on the short-term rather than the long-term savings.
A study conducted in 2007 by the National Marketing Institute found that nearly 60 percent of American consumers admitted that “while they care for the environment, they purchase items based on price.” The study also found that less than one-third of consumers were willing to pay 20 percent more for green products.
While this news may be discouraging at first, it can also be considered positive when environmental campaign messages are specially framed to highlight monetary benefits. For example, it is clear that conserving energy or water at home can lead to lower monthly utility bills. These short-term savings can add up dramatically over the long-term, with positive environmental impact. Yet, not everyone thinks consciously about those savings on a daily basis. By developing an environmental campaign that emphasizes the personal financial benefits of a greener lifestyle, consumers are more likely to respond favorably. A little repetition can go a long way, as long as it doesn’t feel like nagging.
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