Are you thinking what they're thinking?

24 May 2005
Yesterday in this debate, Jon Miller had three key messages for the environmental movement (see here).

Today, Chris Rose cautions on the need to understand values and how they affect behaviour:

Climate is a 'mature' issue, widely understood in similar ways across the main psychological groups of society, with little difference between the 'pioneers' who set trends and explore new issues, and the bulk of the rest of the population. Achieving change will not be brought about mainly by building awareness but by providing ways for people to change behaviour .

Among the organisations doing worthy things to try and build that awareness is Britain's Energy Saving Trust. Recently, they tried turning the issue on its head. Helen Beardsley of the EST tells Paul Wise (in the May/June 05 edition of Your Environment, a publication from the UK Environment Agency):

"We wanted to really tackle the 'so what' mentality head on...We did plenty or market research and decided that some reverse psychology might put our point better than the sort of approach we've used in the past" .

The EST allocated their scare resources to a thirty second TV spot with the following text, presented by three apathetic and emphatically not actorly householders:

Aren't you tired of everyone banging on about climate change? I don't know what all the fuss is about. I mean, the polar ice caps aren't exactly going to melt over night just because I leave my TV on standby, fill my kettle to the top or turn my heating up. What a load of twaddle! So I haven't insulated my house properly, big deal, who cares if I forget to turn one little light off...I mean how much difference can one person really make?


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