Matching values with resources
Written by Todd Vogel, Homeowner
People often want to know why we are remodeling Loom House to such a high standard of green. The short answer is that we want our living/work space and how we spend our time and money to match our values. We are privileged to attempt this on a scale like Loom House.
And there are many ways for people to take action on different scales -- all of them honorable. That raises a straightforward question: what will it take for us all link our beliefs and behaviors, for people to match their values with their resources – in any way they can?
A fascinating study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University gives us a peek into what is at work in getting people to change their behavior. The study, which can be found here, finds that Americans hear about climate change and care about it.
A majority of Americans (56%) encounter climate change news in the media at least once a month. There is plenty of good reporting to scare us. (Case in point: David Wallace-Wells, New York Times piece, Time to Panic: The planet is getting warmer in catastropic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.) But fear isn’t the only spur.
Nearly half of the American population believes that it has been harmed by global warming, and three people in four believe that future generations will be harmed. (Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, for example, and the American Public Health Association warnsthat climate change will only increase the numbers and worsen the symptoms.) According to the Yale/George Mason study, more than 7 people in 10 say that global warming is "personally important" to them.
Do Americans translate those beliefs into action or an expectation that they will take action in the future? Not so often. Psychologists believe that we are more likely to actually take action on something if we perceive that family and friends will approve of us taking the action and if we see family and friends taking that action themselves.
The results on global warming? Fewer than half of Americans perceive that family and friends will approve of them taking action to reduce it. And only four in ten Americans perceive their family and friends making at least a "moderate amount of effort" to reduce global warming.
One of the questions we're exploring on our journey to create one of the greenest remodeled homes in the world: how do make it easier for people to live their values and beliefs? Right now building a green home requires lots of work with architects, engineers, a contractor and working closely with subcontractors, some of whom may struggle to change deeply engrained practices.
We don’t believe that everyone has to do an all-in Living Building. However, everyone does want to have safe, healthy housing and a safe, healthy environment. As part of working on our own house, we will be exploring ways that we might help consumers, contractors and subcontractors simplify the process for others.
Future posts also will explore possibilities. Let's figure out how to make affordable, green homes, the default.
A full copy of the Yale/George Mason report can be found here: Leiserowitz, A., Maibachit, E., Rosenthal, S., Kotcher, J., Ballew, M., Goldberg, M., & Gustafson, A. (2018). Climate change in the American mind: December 2018. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Written by Todd Vogel, Homeowner