Tag Archives: conservation

Using Neighbourhood Comparisons to Promote Conservation

By comparing customers’ usage to that of others in the neighbourhood, utility companies are starting to reduce their energy consumption. This, from an experiment conducted by Robert Cialdini, author of Influence:

In a 2004 experiment, he and a colleague left different messages on doorknobs in a middle-class neighborhood north of San Diego. One type urged the residents to conserve energy to save the earth for future generations; another emphasized financial savings. But the only kind of message to have any significant effect […] was one that said neighbors had already taken steps to curb their energy use.

You can see how effective this is just by looking at the graphic used to head the Times’ article. This has now got me wondering how this could be used with recycling.

via Mind Hacks

The World Without Us

What would happen if humans disappeared from the face of the planet right now? What would happen to our infrastructure, the wild animals… our legacy?

This is the topic Alan Weisman tackles in his speculative non-fiction book, The World Without Us (which I’m considering adding to my reading list purely out of curiosity).

The Wikipedia entry for the book is very insightful, but I just love the (interactive) website:

1 Year: Worldwide, a billion annually doomed birds would live when radio and communication tower warning lights cease blinking and high tension wires grow cold. Animals would begin to return to the sites of nuclear reactors, which would have all melted down or burned. Human head- and body-lice would grow extinct.

35,000 – 100,000 Years: Lead deposited during the smokestack era would finally be cleansed from the soil.

7,200,000 Years: Toxic manmade chemical compounds, such as PCBs and dioxins, would likely also still be intact, although mostly buried.