Are people clueless when it comes to their carbon footprints? Or are they just fooling themselves and being selfish?
This is how a very interesting article we fished out of treehugger begins.
In the reported survey, run in four countries (USA, Germany, France, UK) people were asked on the best thing they could do to reduce their carbon footprint. Almost everybody wrongly believes that giving up plastic bags is the most important thing they can do. There are fascinating regional variations; Americans, who tend to fly a lot because their rail service is so bad, really underestimate the impact of flying. The French, who love local and seasonal food, pat themselves on the back for that. The Germans love their meat, so they underestimate its impact.
The original survey author concludes that “if our capacity to address environmental issues is limited to executing only a few actions, we may need to prioritize. And we need to know what works well to achieve our goals and what does not work so well.”
As treehugger puts it, we all tend to be unwilling to even acknowledge that what is convenient to us is actually producing a lot of carbon. Moreover, we tend to be lazy or a bit self-indulgent.
As MEdIES, we may add on the single action bias (our tendency to rely on one action only, when responding to a threat, such as climate change).