Why choosing solar panels or a hybrid car has more impact than you think
Sometimes trying to make a difference feels like such an uphill battle. But as it turns out, personal energy choices can be contagious.
You take your reusable totes to the store, try not to waste food, drive a hybrid car – and to what end? Does it really matter when the biggest industries and leading policymakers act as if the climate crisis doesn't exist? The short answer: Yes, individual actions matter!
A recent report by the Center for Behavior and the Environment concluded that if 10 percent of Americans adopted seven basic changes, we could cut domestic emissions by 8 percent in 6 years – despite a lack of policy.
The authors wrote: "...a focus on policy alone ignores the breadth of available pathways for action and the urgency of acting on a faster timeline than the policy process often allows. Actions taken voluntarily at the individual and household level can significantly contribute to overall emissions reductions and can do so in the absence of policy."
So now that we've established that individual lifestyle choices matter, how do we get more people to hop on the bandwagon? Well, as it turns out, energy choices are catchy.
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) explains: “A growing body of research shows that the behavior of peers has a significant influence on an individual's energy-related decisions, whether it's choosing to install solar panels or to purchase a hybrid vehicle. In short, personal energy choices can be contagious.”