Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Great stuff on awkward truths & do keep it coming - I've seriously got to follow up that lamb stat it annoys me not knowing why that might be true. But its set me thinking about the whole framing of green issues; addicted to oil, the dying planet etc. Is the emotiveness helpful. Do we have to cast ourselves as gollum to fling the ring into the pit of despair...?
There's something of the psychological complex in all of this; there's barely any topic under the green sun which doesnt create quite deep conflict, for instance guilt. I probably mean "complex" in a loose sense - revisiting the list of Jungian complexes here there isnt an exact one that fits the bill. Although there are some great exotic contenders. But I think of complexes as psychological states relating to subjects and situations where our thinking gets clouded and distorted by excessive feelings and that's the general (non pathological sense) which I mean.
I am starting to think that the potential for the lessening concept is partly about icy rationality. Cutting through confused feelings with simple facts. If you've ever seen the Alan Carr stop smoking videos you'll know what I mean (although there's also a lot of hypnotic suggestion in there too).
If you take the analogy of weight loss. 90% of green stuff is targeting the emotionally fraught territories analogous to insecurity about your figure, eating disorders, size zero models etc. What we need is straightforward calory counting.
A friend of mine's brother is a professor in diabetic research & the biochemistry of obesity. He told me that the obesity trend is very simple. We eat on average 100 too many calories a day. Over decades that turns us into people with all the related health problems of heart disease, diabetes and so on. But its not a binge and fast issue. it's more like a dripping tap.
That's where lessening thing comes in. We need to reduce energy use by very roughly 5% a year. There is endless waste to be tackled within that, things we'd hardly miss, even be better without.
The"ohmygodwereallgoingtodieandevenworseitsallourfaultsowehavetoswitchovernighttomedievalsharecroftingactuallythatssomuchbotheritstemptingjustnottobother..." syndrome makes great ads, documentaries, speeches etc. But maybe this should be thoughtfully positioned into a more rational 'does what it says on the tin' space?
I've got a thoughts to develop (for a presentation) on the conflicted (or confused or complex-ridden) consumer; why whether green consumerism is a really well established trend is so hard to tell - with such divergent findings on whether behaviour is really shifting or not - because the people we are asking these survey questions cant quite make their own minds up about things. Because they are conflicted and confused - so that a very slightly different question can trigger a very different response.
I've no evidence other than the fact that surveys disagree, it's just a hunch. Would be interesting to hear from anyone who's doing groups on green at the moment (my last ones directly about this sort of issue were about a year and a half ago and things have probably changed - or maybe they havent - since then).