Sorting through the mess on my desk. I come across paper with old to-do-list, no longer relevant. Thought: ‘Look on the other side, see if it can be used.’ Back of paper is blank. Thought: ‘I should save paper to write on.’ I crumple the paper, and throw it into garbage can. There is something about starting fresh with a 100% virgin sheet of paper. I have toned down my habit quite a bit, and am usually pretty good at saving half used sheets. But in this case, Prad got these super thin sheets made out of recycled paper. They feel as if they can only handle one sided writing.
Posts Tagged ‘guilt’
The Green Bracelet from Simmons Jewelry is tempting me. It is hard to resist green malachite, rough diamond, and a little bit of gold, all thrown into a great looking bracelet, for a Green cause, and for only $125. Could it be that I can satisfy my shopping urges and do good, both at the same time? Green is becoming the new land of opportunities for marketers of all sorts. And a new outlet for the Green Wannabes like me, who still want to shop, but without the guilt. Which raises the question of, is it possible to be green and a consumer? Green citizen, yes. But green consumer? Sounds like the oxymoron of the twenty first century.
Posted in Communication Strategies, tagged account planning, advertising, climate crisis, consciousness, eco-sins, ecopsychology, environment, green conscience, guilt, human behavior on September 15, 2007| 2 Comments »
I am still not very green
Reading the Norwich Union study yesterday made me question my own authenticity as a Green Girl Wannabe. Appearances can be deceiving, and a lot of the green credit I have been taking, should really be going to Green Guru. I married Green Guru a little less than two years ago. This life altering event introduced a green consciousness that was not there before. There is a difference between being conscious, and taking action, however. If I am honest with myself, I am still stuck in the role of passive thinker. Green Guru is the one doing ninety nine percent of the environmental work in our house. If it was not for Green Guru, I would still be living in my old house, with poor isolation, and sky rocketing energy bills. I would still be driving my old Subaru. I would still be a dilettante recycler. I would still run laundry loads like you would not believe. I would still go the plastic bag route at Whole Foods. I would shamelessly buy too much food and throw half of it away. I would keep using all my old light bulbs. I would still leave all the appliances plugged in 24/7. This is who I am, still, at the core.
Get me to act
This split between awareness and lack of corresponding actions, has become an obsession of mine. Back in the 80’s, the British introduced the account planning function in advertising, and revolutionized the way ads were conceived. The account planner’s job is to understand the consumer, at a much deeper level than can usually be achieved through traditional market research techniques. Account planning relies on a ladder technique of consumer insights. Part of the problem with the current climate crisis, is there has not been a convincing message to the majority, the people like me, that sells them effectively on a Green Earth proposition. The reason there has not been a convincing message, is the lack of a well conceived communication campaign. If Green Earth was a product, and I was the marketer in charge of selling it, I would have been fired from my job a long time ago. This is where account planning comes into play. There needs to be a better understanding of what makes people tick. Why have not they been buying the Green Earth product? Why are they resorting to their old ways still? What will convince them? These are the questions that need to be asked. These are the questions I ask of myself.
Inside the green wannabe’s mind
Awareness is not an issue. I am convinced of the problem. I know what to do pretty much. The first thought is, I feel detached. My life is pretty good as it is. If you are asking me to alter my life so drastically, I am not sure I can. One thing I could handle, but not so many, especially when I am not suffering right now. Old ways are working for me. They may not be working for the planet, but they are working for me. I do not have the will power to change on my own. It is too much work, too much effort, and I have enough on my plate already. I could follow regulations. But to initiate changes on my own, especially a whole bunch, that is just too much. I am getting irritated with all the green do-gooders out there boasting about their green feats. Good for them. For me, it just makes me feel guilty and incompetent. So much stuff I have to do. I quit. You don’t understand all I have to deal with as it is. Don’t ask me for more. . .
The need for Big Brother
Account Planner might stop me right there. And start making sense of my smorgasbord of thoughts. One insight that comes out, is my cry for help. I want to do good, but I just can’t, and I am asking for another solution. I don’t want to have to do so much work. Making significant lifestyle changes takes energy. This is not unlike people trying to quit smoking, or drinking, or to lose weight. This is why Weight Watchers, and twelve steps program are so popular. What’s called for here is a Green Earth Solution that does not put so much burden on the consumer, and shifts it instead to external structures. Big Brother needs to step in.
When it comes to being green, most of us are a bunch of liers. For the real scoop, here is a very interesting study, that was just quoted in the Telegraph:
A study by Norwich Union discovered that seven in 10 regard appearing to be green as the new way of “keeping up with the Joneses”. Although more than half consider unethical living as much of a social taboo as drink driving, nine in 10 admit that they tell “little green lies” to exaggerate their commitment to saving the planet. More than 50 per cent say they are unlikely to alter their way of life despite pressure from the media, politicians and their children to be greener. Corinne Sweet, a psychologist, said: “We want to be good but often are too busy, or it seems too complicated, so we cut corners, or forget altogether and then feel guilty. “This can lead people to lie about their environmental actions, or even to give up trying altogether, as it all seems too much to pack into our already too busy 24/7 lives. “People then feel guilty when friends, family and neighbours seem so much better at being green. “Spending money is a traditional way of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and is something most of us know how to do,” Miss Sweet added. “But being green, that’s a lot harder to work out and people are feeling a great deal of anxiety, irritation and fear that what they are doing is not enough or is wrong. Their anger can lead them to give up altogether and then be racked with green guilt.” Three-quarters of people feel most guilty about driving gas-guzzling 4x4s, while six in 10 rue wasting energy at home. More than half are ashamed of using plastic bags and the same number feel bad about not having a recycling bin, the survey found. Despite feeling sheepish, 40 per cent admit they are unlikely to check whether food and clothes are ethically produced, and admit to leaving electrical products on standby rather than switching them off. One in five say they have no idea how to be more green.
Shouln’t environmental organizations, be mulling over these numbers? Personal psychology plays such a huge role in the current climate crisis. I am reminded of my days as an advertising woman, when part of my job was to figure out “The Consumer”. We went to such great lengths to understand the motivations behind consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. Great advertising stories all start with this basic effort of getting into the consumers’ minds. Something to learn here.
‘Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop’, the French saying goes. I looked it up in my French-English dictionary. ‘What’s bred in the bone will come out in the flesh’. What’s been bred in my bone, from birth, is a propensity to consume, and waste, and a disregard for the laws of nature. Yesterday, I became keenly aware of that reality. I was trying to accomplish lots, and in my haste, convenience became paramount. The green bags at Whole Foods, forgotten, not in the car. The drying the clothes on the rack, no time for it. I wanted to take care of several weeks of laundry, piled up, and I was not going to wait. I did four loads, and got the dryer running for most of the day. I could have planned my car trips better, but I was in a rush, and focused on each task, each errand, not the bigger picture. What’s coming out in my flesh is a behavior that does not make me proud. I am just a Green Girl Wannabe.
My mind bustling with so many exciting projects, I forgot the green bags again. Prad had placed them on the door knob, as usual. Still, that was not enough for me to remember. Needless to say, I felt major guilt at the Whole Foods checkout counter. Tonight we are having a bid dinner party, so it was not just one, but six plastic bags, that I brought home.
I am a Target addict. It only took reading one small blurb in Jane magazine, about the upcoming release of Dominique Cohen for Target jewelry collection, to send me scouring through the Target website. I could feel the rush of anticipation, and while I was at it, I did a run through of the entire site, looking for other designer items at Target prices. Handbags, shoes, clothes, other jewelry, I did not miss a thing. How ironic, after I wrote this glorious post yesterday about wanting to become a buddhist! I started feeling guilty. Quickly, my mind fabricated an elaborate rationale for why I should be so obsessed with shopping. It said, you are a woman, you have been biologically programmed to want to adorn yourself, so you can better seduce your mate.