Do you carry reusable bags to shop at the grocery store? Do you sort empty
plastic containers into the correct recycling bin? Did you trade-in your
gas guzzler for a well-worn pair of sneakers?
Do you think that all those enviro-goody-two-shoes things you did matter?
No hate mail, please! That’s what economist Gernot Wagner at the Environmental
Defense Fund said. He argued that in order to save the planet, we need much
more than environmentalists. Instead, we need smart economic policies.
Here’s an interesting interview at Co.Exist:
Co.Exist:What does the average environmentalist get wrong?
Wagner: Environmentalists, all too often, think that the best way
to go about solving the problem is to get everyone to do as they–we,
I included–do. I don’t eat meat. I don’t drive. But individual
do-gooderism won’t solve global warming.
And it may actually be counter-productive, for two reasons. First,
there’s a well-documented psychological phenomenon called “single-action
bias.” You do one thing, and you move on. You carry your groceries
home by foot, in a cotton canvas bag, and you think that single act
of environmental kindness makes up for other sins.
Second, you spend all your energy thinking about these tiny things.
Should you buy the local apples that have been stored for months in
a cool house somewhere, or should you buy the fresh apple flown in from
across the world? Or should you not buy apples at all when they are
not in season and risk not getting enough vitamins?
You’d go positively crazy trying to figure out what to do,
and you’d miss the big picture: That, at the end of the day, none
of that really matters.
So what should we do? Read on at Co.Exist: Link