Consumers are sustainable if offered incentives and benefits.
Early morning, and chaos. Builders are putting up scaffolding around my house, it is chaos. The cat is sick over my laptop bag. I escape and wait for the local library to open. A passerby comments that I had not done my homework last night, I blink a few times, do I look that young? In the library, panic as someone cannot find their bag they left a few minutes before; the library staff had taken the bag thinking it is a bomb. My cellphone rings, a customer wants me to deal with a last-minute project. Welcome to my chaos.
Amongst all this chaos the media, politician and activist bombard the consumers with messages of fear and doom of global warming. Everybody is by now jaded, one more item of fear and manipulation in a tsunami of fear and marketing that daily seeks entrance to overstimulated minds. Important perhaps to academics in their ivory towers, and rulers who see a good thing in marketing fear, the common person on the street has to live their lives, and their attention is upon mundane activities like paying the rent and getting their kids off to school. Climate change is at the bottom of the list of concerns of everyday people, along with the rest of the fear-monsters of everyday life.
The scaffolding around my home is part of an interesting social experiment in sustainability. Solar panels will appear upon the roof of my house, part of a scheme that though underwritten by a loan, will start to make money. The solar panels offer free electricity during the day, my home only pays for the electricity at night. My home sells the excess electricity it makes to the electricity companies who run the national power grid. It is a win-win situation, a reduction in electricity bills, a scheme that will pay for itself, and the government-electricity companies paying the consumer for the electricity their solar panels sell to the electricity grid.
It is no point hoping for change in consumer habits by top-down control and fear marketing. Offer the consumer a benefit, something that satisfies a need, such as the scheme my house is now involved in, the sustainable activities will drive a change in behavior, thus achieve positive outcomes the advocates of climate change desire.