What’s Mine is Yours
The authors of this book feel we are slowly coming out of a “consumer trance” as a growing number of people (and businesses, and governments) begin to realize that infinite growth based on finite resources is not a viable combination.
Many of us are also begining to realize that working more (or longer) so you can buy a boat is less appealing than working less (or shorter hours) and sharing a boat with your neighbours.
The great error of our nature is not to know where to stop; not to be satisfied with any reasonable requirement … but to lose all we have gained by an insatiable pursuit of more.
– Edward Burke, Irish statesman 1757
The book introduced me to the IfWeRanTheWorld platform which is sort of interesting for organizing ideas, though I like the ability to rank ideas by popularity… Get Satisfaction seems to do this well.
There’s a great example on pages 81 & 82 on how messaging can affect behaviour. Arizona State students researchers measured how often hotel guests would re-use towels based on the messaging on the cards which were left in each washroom. They tested common pleas like “Do it for the environment”, “Help save resources for future generations”, “Partner with us to help save the environment”, etc… With a 16% participation rate, “Help the hotel save energy” was the least effective. The most effective message had close to a 75% participation rate: “Join fellow guests in helping save the environment”. Looks like peer-influenced messaging is sometimes the best way to go!
The final message from the book that I hope will stick with me is this:
We think nothing of paying a good amount of money for a hotel room where we sleep in a bed that hundreds (if not thousands) of others have slept, using towels that hundreds (if not thousands) of others have used. However, sharing a vacuum cleaner with a single neighbour is not even close to being common practice.