Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival
This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!
For the 2011 Earth Day Blog Carnival I wrote about the “green sheen” – corporations adopting green language not out of a love of the environment or a respect for our resources but rather as a marketing angle by using meaningless labels to make their products or services appear to be eco-conscious.
It looks like corporations aren’t alone – some studies have shown that individuals also engage in a little eco-dishonesty: people tend to make more eco-friendly decisions when they believe that they can be seen making eco-friendly decisions.
Researchers Steven Sexton and Alison Sexton have written about what they have termed “conspicuous conservationism:” the act of engaging in ecologically conscious behavior to gain esteem or social status. One particularly illustrative example of conspicuous conservationism is installing solar panels on the street-facing side of one’s house, even if that side is more shaded. Obviously the solar panels will better serve the home on the sunnier side of the street, but then who would know about them?
The Sextons’ study also accounts for the popularity of the Prius hybrid car. Honda, Nissan and Ford all sell hybrids, but none of theirs reach the popularity of the Prius even though they offer comparable benefits in terms of gas mileage and carbon footprint. So why is the Prius the big winner? The Sextons theorize that the Prius’ distinctive design is to blame: visually, the hybrid Civic, for example, looks like a regular Civic. The casual onlooker probably won’t notice that the driver is driving a hybrid unless he looks very closely. The Prius is far more obvious – the driver is making a statement by his vehicle choice. People want others to notice their eco-conscious choices.
I know I’m guilty of conspicuous conservationism myself. Here’s my own crunchy confession: when I forget my reusable grocery bags at Trader Joe’s, I’ll buy a new one. It isn’t that I need yet another reusable bag. I just feel better walking out of Trader Joe’s with a reusable bag, particularly if there are other people in line with reusable bags. Vain? Maybe a little. But is it such a bad thing?
I would say no: regardless of people’s motives, conservation is conservation. Every eco-friendly decision is a step in the right direction. While the term “peer pressure” typically has negative connotations, positive peer pressure can go a long way towards pushing people towards good decisions. So if part of your reason for buying local is so that you can sport that cute organic cotton T-shirt that says “I Buy Local,” go for it. Conspicuous conservationism is an interesting concept, and one that I’m noticing more and more in my own actions.
Freakonomics - Conspicuous Conservation and the Prius Effect
Steven and Amanda Sexton’s Paper
- You are a Child of the Earth – Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
- Cutting Out Paper – Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be “greener” as each Earth Day passes.
- The World is Brown – Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren’t doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
- 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
- 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
- Little Changes – Big Results – Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she’s baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
- Inspiring the Next Generation – aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
- Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body – Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
- Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) – Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
- Clutter Free for a Cause – At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy’s penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
- Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
- Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes…Just Not Too Quickly – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
- Fostering Love of Earth – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
- Being in Nature – Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
- 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
- Viva Portlandia – Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she’s taking to further lessen her family’s environmental impact.
- Conspicuous Conservationism – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
- Time for Radical Sustainability – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!
Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival! Please relax and take time to read these other great eco-living posts:
A big thank you to all of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival participants!