Sunday, June 5, 2011

Changing Behaviors


According to a report by the America Psychological Association there are 6 main obstacles that make “going green” a challenge for people. They found that uncertainty, mistrust, denial, undervaluing risks, lack of control and habit all make it difficult to change. With all the information out there on the different reasons to promote ecologically friendly habits, some people doubt that it really is a problem. They can mistrust the government and scientists that show evidence of a serious problem or deny that it was a problem caused by human, and therefore, think it doesn’t need to be solved by humans. When people undervalue the risks of environmental conditions by thinking it will worsen in 25 years and can be dealt with then, but by then it will be too late. Individuals can make a difference but the thinking that any single action will be too small to make a change often keep people doing what they have always been doing without the concern for the effect on the environment.

In relation to nuclear energy, many people are uncertain of the risks in using nuclear energy and mistrust the information out there. The ease of using nuclear energy makes it difficult to change. Locally, Portland General Electric offers a solution by giving customers a choice of standard nuclear energy or sustainable wind energy for just a few cents more. I can say that putting a piece of paper in with my bill didn’t do much to make me want to make the effort to change to wind energy even though I know it is the right thing. However when they had a representative from the PGE walk around the neighborhood and offer an easy way to change to wind energy I didn’t think twice. The ease of being able to make a change definitely made a difference in actually changing my behaviors and I think that in order to make a difference it needs to be easy to make the correct choice.

-Cristina Coyne

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