Wednesday, March 24

Greenies are meanies?

This article in the Gaurdian made me laugh... then cringe... Oh crap.

So some dudes have done a study and found that people who are, or think of themselves, as green consumers are heaps more likely to steal, be mean to other people, cut people off in traffic etc coz they feel that because of their choices, they are entitled to get away with other stuff.

The problem is, as a self confessed greeny, I catch myself with thoughts like this often. I'm not confessing to nicking stuff. I don't. (I don't have the balls!) But I do get awfully self righteous (mostly in my head admittedly) because I consider my life to be better for the planet than say... Rupert Murdochs... oh no wait... that's everyone... than say... well someone who drives a huge car in a city, or owns a coal mine, or um cuts me off on my bicycle in traffic, or uses plastic shopping bags - especially when it is JUST FOR ONE ITEM!! Man that should be illegal! *rantrantrant* shutupsophie!

Annnnyhoooo note to self: Just because the lady in the ginourmous vehicle almost killed you, because she is so high up she couldn't see you all the way down there on your puny bicycle, doesn't mean she is a bad person. Heck she could be the head of a large recycling firm. Or from the country and she only owns her one big country sized car. Or American. No offense Americans - but the Hummer is currently infiltrating Australia at an alarming rate and I hate them. Ahem. Oh yes where was I...

See here's an example. I ride a bike. In the city. Two times a day. If it is safe to do so, I sneak across intersections when the light is red. Yes. Yes I do. And I justify it in my head the whole way. "well those pedestrians are going and I am practicly one of them *get the hell out of my way you walking imbicile* " Or "I am running so flipping late, you just don't understand I have to go, no-one is going to get hurt and I can't go as fast as you coz I don't have a car" Or " It's really late and it's hardly safer for me to wait on this lonesome street for a light to change when there is no traffic coming than to just go..." Essentially I justify my illegal actions in my head because I'm not polluting while I do. Strange huh? Maybe I should write a book... How to act illegally and still feel good about yourself. Maybe all robbers should use public transport or bicycles as getaway vehicles... and get more leniant sentances for doing so... Ha!

Read the actual newspaper article after the jump...
{via} Artist Edina Tokodi
Article by Kate Connolly in Berlin,, Monday 15 March 2010
Real thing here.

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to "green" type.
According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics".

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours," they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

Mazar and Zhong said their study showed that just as exposure to pictures of exclusive restaurants can improve table manners but may not lead to an overall improvement in behaviour, "green products do not necessarily make for better people". They added that one motivation for carrying out the study was that, despite the "stream of research focusing on identifying the 'green consumer'", there was a lack of understanding into "how green consumption fits into people's global sense of responsibility and morality and [how it] affects behaviours outside the consumption domain".

The pair said their findings surprised them, having thought that just as "exposure to the Apple logo increased creativity", according to a recent study, "given that green products are manifestations of high ethical standards and humanitarian considerations, mere exposure" to them would "activate norms of social responsibility and ethical conduct".

Dieter Frey, a social psychologist at the University of Munich, said the findings fitted patterns of human behaviour. "At the moment in which you have proven your credentials in a particular area, you tend to allow yourself to stray elsewhere," he said.
Sorry I have lost the link to this picture. Let me know if it is yours.

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