Going green isn’t just about doing things like using cloth bags instead of plastic or paper or taking a bike to work once in a while instead of driving. There is a certain psychology behind a green or environmentally friendly lifestyle. The term green psychology, or ecopsychology, refers to the motivation or reasons people have for making environmentally friendly or green choices. However you don’t have to have a psychology degree to understand the principles behind going green or to reap the benefits of doing so. Read on for five tips that will inspire you and your friends to start living an environmentally friendly lifestyle today.
Let’s face it; a good psychological motivator is saving a few bucks here and there. While logically it would make sense to focus on the fact that making green choices is good for the environment, the fact is that most people are going to follow their wallet over their conscience.
If people see that they can save money by making certain green choices, they are more likely to be motivated to make such choices. For example, hybrid cars were not big sellers when they first came onto the market. Yet now their prices are comparable with traditional cars, their sales have skyrocketed. Clearly the sales of hybrid cars are increasing because they are more affordable. The environmental factor is secondary in this case.
Humans are emotional creatures. This explains the popularity of chick flicks and advertising featuring cute little puppies. Thus if going green is seen as helping the planet or is equated to making the world a better place, people will tend to more receptive to the concept.
Studies have shown that ads that humanize inanimate objects tend to be more effective than those that do not. In other words, giving the impression that the planet Earth is the same as us and is “sick” because of smog or garbage randomly thrown about tends to pull on people’s heartstrings and make them more likely to respond in a sympathetic way and be open to green ideas that will help the planet “feel better.” This approach is generally most effective with children.
Advertising studies indicate that if people are told something is good or beneficial for them they tend to be show interest. This concept appeals to people’s practical side. In other words, you make a choice because it’s good for you. This can extend to how you prepare and buy foods to what kind of foods you purchase.
It’s like having a delicious dinner and then choosing to have fruit for desert instead of coconut cream pie. You may have wanted the pie, but you choose the fruit because it is good for you. The same applies to green choices for some people. It may be a pain to separate recyclables or to walk the two blocks to the store instead of hopping in the car, but in the end these are choices that are good for both you and the environment.
Facts can have an impact. Sometimes telling people something is good for them or even saving a few bucks just isn’t enough to convince them to make green choices. That’s when you throw facts and figures into the mix. Providing facts on the advantages of going green in a way that is not overwhelming can be psychologically motivating because you have solid reasons that support why making green choices is good for the environment. People do not like to be told what to do. Presenting facts allows people to make green choices based on what they know.
There is something to be said for the “everybody else is doing it” school of thought. If someone sees that other people are going green and making green choices, they will likely follow. In other words, there is comfort in knowing you are not the only one doing something.
Clearly, everybody has different motivations that determine how they live their lives. Going green is not just about convincing people they should do something to help improve the environment. Yet if you understand the psychology behind decision-making, you can be more effectual in persuading people to make green choices.
Source: The Greenists
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