Posts tagged ‘go green’

Helsinki, December and climate change

Less than a week to Christmas. It’s +11, rainy and windy. I remember how people depreciated global warming 5-10 years ago, saying that “no problem, at least we’ll have decent summers here in the North”.

A more accurate term was developed since then – climate change instead of global warming. This means for Southern Finland, for example, that there will be the same windy and short summers, but winter will almost disappear, making room for the gray misery, lasting 6 months. And no, we’ll not have blossoming flowers in April like in Holland, at least for the coming tens of years.

There is still a hope. Just before Paris Climate Change Conference a march against climate change was organized in many cities. This is how it looked like in Helsinki:

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Guilt and environment penny

buy_co2I am reading a profound book, named The Willpower Instinct. It covers many topics helping people to keep their long-time goals in mind and to be less affected by a constant flow of momentary desires.

The book is so good that I wouldn’t retell it here. I would like instead to share some thoughts about certain aspect of our behaviour, related to the feeling of guilt.

Author of the book explains in the chapter 4 that people’s mind can play fuzzy tricks. Doing something good can give us indulgence to do something bad. E.g. buing a salad for the lunch can give an indulgence to eat pizza in the evening. Moveover, *thinking* of doing something good in the future already gives the same indulgence.

No wonder that our sense of guilt is used by marketologists. The root of this guilt can be different for different people. Let’s focus on the fact that some people feel guilty for being harmful to the environment. They would like to act in a more environment-friendly way.

Fullfilling some goal is a long and hard way and this is also the case when trying to act in a more environment-friendly manner. Because real actions are hard to do, some people would easily buy a fake action – “environment penny”, “CO2 compensation”, you name it. The effect of such “green” actions is usually quite contrary to intention – people feel licensed to consume more energy, to fly more often and so on.

Something inside me was always against of these stupid “CO2 compensations”, but I didn’t know what’s exactly wrong with them. The Willpower Instinct helped me to understand this.

There is another good thing. A plenty of initiatives exist, where real action is needed and the goal can be clearly formulated. In such case you don’t buy yourself an indulgence, but you can really affect things. So, don’t waste your money and don’t allow to be fooled by industries like aviation, which is responsible for around 3.5% of anthropogenic climate change (and this number is constantly growing).

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