For those of you who do not know, I am an environmental investigator with the State of Texas. I grew up on a dairy farm, which is one of the closest ways to have a relationship with nature, and I majored in environmental and international studies in college. I recycle and I regulate air polluters. In other words, I care about our environment. With the Copenhagen Climate Summit taking place, I thought it would be a great time to talk a bit more about this passion of mine.
As a person who cares, I am here to tell environmentalists that their messaging about being good stewards of the earth is all wrong for their target audience, who are people who do not care about the environment (or who do, but do not wish to express it through lifestyle changes).
Commercials, newspaper articles, and movies about global warming are wasted PR and marketing opportunities for two reasons: environmentalists all ready buy into these concepts and are reducing their use of products, carpooling, recycling, etc. without this added advertising, and people who do not care about the environment are completely unmoved to do anything from the purely environmental viewpoint expressed in the media.
So, how should environmentalists market to their target audience (i.e. the people who have not yet changed their habits)? Motivate them through cost savings.
There is a direct correlation between the lives of frugal people and people who care about the environment, yet this is hardly ever discussed. In essence, both groups of people seek to minimize their use of a finite amount of resources. By reducing consumption, reusing, and recycling, people save money while at the same time minimize their carbon footprint. Save money while simultaneously conserving the planet’s resources? Count me in.
Reduce and Save Money
- Carpool, take a bus, ride a bike, and save money on gas as well as cut down on carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and ground level ozone creation
- Use dish towels as often as possible to reduce number of expensive paper towels (which are becoming more and more like mini-dish towels with the quilting patterns and increasing thickness) and save on trees and reduce the amount of pollutants produced in the making of paper
- Purchase energy efficient bulbs to use less energy to light your apartment or home to reduce your electricity bill and to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions
- Make less food, or utilize your leftovers in new recipes (or just like they are—I find spaghetti and meatballs always tastes better on the second day!) to save you time, money and energy used to produce and transport the food
Reuse and Save Money
- Buy a BPA-free water bottle and/or a water filter pitcher and fill it up instead of purchasing bottled water to save you money and to use less petroleum as well as to stop sending so many plastic bottles to the landfills
- Swap books between friends and family to save you money and to cut down on the loss of trees
- Purchase a lunch bag to take to work each day instead of using plastic bags or paper bags
Recycle and Save Money (or in some cases, make money!)
- In states with bottle deposits, take your plastic bottles back to the distributor and cash-in
- Check to see if your local trash collector rewards you to recycle
- Scrap metal such as old appliances, coke cans, hangers
If environmentalists made more of an effort to realize that many people are not environmentally-motivated, but virtually everyone is financially-motivated, then their message would reach their target audience and result in more behavioral changes at a much faster pace.
Who can argue against changes that will make you save money?