Why Going "Green" is Actually Bad for the Environment

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)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

This article has a hidden message. It really isn't about calling out elitism in going green. They are saying you aren't really green until you sacrifice for the cause.

It is sort of ironic. They imply they are shunning extremism, yet they want us to be more extreme. It isn't enough to buy green products, we must conserve the absolute amount we can.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@toontune - actually, the article was published in the Washington Post, a liberal bastion if there's such a thing.

The studies cited were done at the University of Toronto and UC Berkeley.

It's worthwhile to point out that the concept of cognitive dissonance (the tendency to harden one's belief when it's challenged, or even proven wrong by evidence) is pretty universal: both liberals and conservatives have it.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Pieces like this are predictable and tiresome and beneath Neatorama. Leave such to Fox News. I don't come to this site for negative tripe. A few more like this and I'm gone.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Why Going "Green" is Actually Bad for the Environment"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More