Sunday, October 11, 2009


According to researchers at the University of Toronto "buying green can be a license for bad behaviour" (emphasis in original):
"People do not make decisions in a vacuum; their decisions are embedded in a history of behaviors. Across three studies we consider pro-social and ethical decision-making in the context of past consumer behaviors and demonstrate that the halo associated with green consumerism has to be taken with reservations. While mere exposure to green products can have a positive societal effect by inducing pro-social and ethical acts, purchasing green products may license indulgence in self-interested and unethical behaviors."
The Guardian picks up the story:
Green is good. You think before you print; you buy your organic whatever; you sort-of sympathise with the bumper sticker injunction to "live simply so that others may simply live". It might not be as cheap or as easy – but it's the right thing to do. Isn't it?

Well, consider this: a person who makes the decent, green choice is much more likely to behave badly afterwards, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.
The study isn't attacked; it's used to bolster the argument for greater government intervention:
What the findings show is that expecting people to always make the right choices is unrealistic. The fight against climate change could require greater conscription than we are willing to admit.
Andrew Bolt provides a slightly different view:
Why greens can’t be trusted

Green activism always struck me as a no-sweat morality, in which you got the moral kudos for demanding that others make the sacrifices. So no surprise here:
Psychologists in Canada have revealed new research suggesting that people who become eco-conscious “green consumers” are “more likely to steal and lie” than others.

The new study comes from professor Nina Mazar of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and her colleague Chen-Bo Zhong.

“Those lyin’, cheatin’ green consumers,” begins the statement from the university. “Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up ‘moral credentials’ in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.”
Jeremy Sear, his brain possibly subconsciously linking his Greenness to "questionable behaviour", goes into full on rant mode (my bold):
You’d think that the effort [above] from Andy would be so far beneath contempt and beyond parody that it a response would be superfluous. And it would be – if it weren’t the case that a major news media organisation insists on publishing it.

And all it takes to get Andrew Bolt to accuse people with opposing political views of being “untrustworthy” is ninety students in Toronto participating in a dodgy experiment that doesn’t actually support his allegation (for starters, far from being “green activists”, the group that “lied” hadn’t actually chosen to buy “green” products, but instead had just been allocated to that side – they were no more “green” than Andrew Bolt). But he won’t care. He’s not even pretending to debate opponents on the argument now – he’s just calling them names. Serious, nasty names.

You wouldn’t think that a media organisation that wants to be taken seriously would publish this worthless, spiteful garbage.
Unless I've missed something somewhere, Bolt didn't do any name calling.

But Jeremy does make a valid point: if Crikey and Pure Poison aim to be taken seriously, they should stop publishing "worthless, spiteful garbage."


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