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Posts tagged environment

from "Going Green to Be Seen: Status, Reputation, and Conspicuous Conservation," by Vladas Griskevicius, Joshua M. Tybur, and Bram Van der Bergh, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2010, Vol. 98, No. 3, 392-404 :: via Kyle Van Houtan

Our findings suggest that marketers of green products are well-advised to clearly link such products to status (e.g., celebrity endorsers, prestigious events), especially when a green product is relatively expensive (e.g., when such products have high development costs and cannot be sold at a loss). As indicated by Study 2, however, a key component of harnessing the power of status motives to benefit social welfare necessitates that the prosocial acts be visible to others, whereby such acts can clearly influence the well-doer’s reputation. For example, nonprofit organizations are well-advised to give their benefactors visible signs, tags, or badges (e.g., the highly visible yellow Livestrong armband signifying cancer donations), so that benefactors can clearly display their self-sacrificing and status-enhancing acts.

A costly signaling framework also suggests that it would be a mistake to link green products to status when such products are relatively cheap because inexpensive products can undermine the signaling of wealth by its owner. Indeed, a key counterintuitive aspect of this framework is that attempts to make green products cheaper, easier to buy, or more time-saving can actually undercut their utility as a signal of environmentalist/altruist dedication. For example, in contrast to standard economic models, a costly signaling framework suggests that electric cars might be seen as more prestigious and more desirable if recharging stations are harder to find and take longer to recharge the batteries, rather than being ubiquitous, fast, and efficient.

excerpt Biophilia
from "Videophilia replacing love of nature," by Rusty Pritchard, The Earth is the Lord's, 16 March 2009

Loving nature, it turns out, is not just an instinct but a virtue. Like nature itself, the virtue of loving it requires cultivation. There’s no question that the trait of biophilia is good for us and good for God’s garden, but we aren’t able to retain a love for nature simply because it’s built in. We must actively create, and re-create, every generation, a culture that loves, and therefore tends and keeps, God’s garden.

To quote researcher Zaradic:

“We need environmental stewards now more than ever. Yet we are raising a generation of young people whose primary experience with nature is virtual. Real nature is a full sensory experience, with frequent open-ended problem-solving opportunities and no off switch. We should all make outdoor play a priority for our children and ourselves. Nature: use it or lose it.”

from "Delhi to outlaw plastic bags," by Randeep Ramesh,, 16 January 2009

Carry a plastic bag in Delhi and you could be imprisoned for five years. Officials in India’s capital have decided that the only way to stem the rising tide of poly­thene is to outlaw the plastic shopping bag.

According to the official note, the “use, storage and sale” of plastic bags of any kind or thickness will be banned. The new guideline means that customers, shopkeepers, hoteliers and hospital staff face a 100,000 rupee fine (£1,370) and a possible jail sentence for using non-biodegradable bags….

Civil servants said that punitive measures were needed after a law prohibiting all but the thinnest plastic bags – no thicker than 0.04mm – was ignored.

Although the government had originally concluded that plastic bags were too cheap and convenient to be disposed of, the authorities appear to have been swayed by environmentalists who pointed out that used bags were clogging drains and so providing breeding grounds for malaria and dengue fever. There is evidence that prohibition of plastic bags can work. Countries such as Rwanda, Bhutan and Bangladesh have all had bans enforced.


God did not want us to leave as few footprints as possible, leaving the earth alone as much as we can. He commanded us instead to spread out, over the whole globe, and bring it all under our influence, to subdue it for its own good, to make it even more fruitful, beautiful, and sustainable, under God’s guidance and by the power he invested in it. We dare not be cowed into relinquishing this role out of shame that we have performed it badly heretofore. We must take it up afresh, do the best we can, and look forward to the shalom that our administration will bring, in concert with Christ’s rule, in the world to come.

a post, 23 July 2008

Constructing new LEED-certified green buildings is all well and good, but if they’re further from your workers’ homes and you have to tear down perfectly good old buildings to do so, the hoped-for energy savings are wasted.

Embodied energy. Another term unlovely to the ear, it’s one with which preservationists need to get comfortable. In two words, it neatly encapsulates a persuasive rationale for sustaining old buildings rather than building from scratch. When people talk about energy use and buildings, they invariably mean operating energy: how much energy a building—whether new or old—will use from today forward for heating, cooling, and illumination. Starting at this point of analysis—the present—new will often trump old. But the analysis takes into account neither the energy that’s already bound up in preexisting buildings nor the energy used to construct a new green building instead of reusing an old one. “Old buildings are a fossil fuel repository,” as Jackson put it, “places where we’ve saved energy.”

If embodied energy is taken into consideration, a new building that’s replaced an older building will take up to 65 years to start saving energy…and those buildings aren’t really designed to last that long.

by Nate Barksdale for Culture Making

The United Nations Environment Program has just launched this Google map-enabled site with before/after satellite images showing environmental change over the past few decades: cities grow, forests are converted to farmland, glaciers shrink. We’re making something of the world, both for better and for worse.