If you think that going "green" is going to save the Earth, think again. It turns out that eco-conscious people are more likely to overconsume, thanks to human nature:
Lucas Davis, an energy economist at the University of California, Berkeley, has published a study showing that after getting high-efficiency washers, consumers increased clothes washing by nearly 6 percent. Other studies show that people leave energy-efficient lights on longer. A recent study by the Shelton Group, which advocates for sustainable consumer choices, showed that of 500 people who had greened their homes, a third saw no reduction in bills.
"Subconsciously, I think this is just part of human nature," said Jason Holstine, owner of Amicus Green Building Center in the Kensington. "It's like, 'If I just do a little, I'm off the hook and my conscious is clear. Give me a pat on the back, and thank you very much.' Then it goes too far."
"They think, 'I'm being a good person, I can do more of this stuff and still come out ahead,' " said Frank Zeman, director of the Center for Metropolitan Sustainability at New York Institute of Technology. "Although the problem is that they will never come out ahead. This goes to the heart of the sustainability challenge."
Link (Illustration: Marc Rosenthal)