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How To Encourage People To Conserve Energy?

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By 2020, global population will reach 8 billion and GDP will rise to $80 Trillion. Along with this, there will be surge on internet user reaching half of humanity. Energy demand and consumption synergies with this trend. However, Fossil fuels shall still remain most favorite source of energy for most of the mankind activities and with fossil fuels comes repugnant gift i.e. Climate Change. This is where dire need of conserving energy and change in its usages pattern comes into force and our effort to motivate single individual will have butterfly effect. In a very (un)surprising, dealing with climate change is not really what motivates people, something else is.

Human being have tendency to not to act when they feel like they are being enforced or when things do not reach their sentiment and touch bottom of their heart. If we continue to talk about climate change and global warming, there will barely touch emotion and create connection which are critical for people to act. Only when emotion are touched, close connections are made, people will start connecting dots. A very good news is many multinational companies are using this technique of reaching out people’s emotion to sale their products globally. This similar tactic is what we need to adapt if we really want people to stand up for conservation of energy. Emotional drives can be showing interconnection of our complex relation of climate change and its effect through our energy consumption habit in more simplified manner. Like how load shedding on developing countries for children preparing their future while we leave our internet-connected gadget on sleep mode or computer on even for useless time. Such emotional stories hit inner core of heart and compel people to act.

Another more effective way is related to habit and general human temperament this largely encompasses “impression and showing of how good we are” to promote energy saving behavior. In today’s time, where no one wants to remain anonymous smarten, it’s time we create visible incentives and start providing credit to those who are actually saving energy or minimizing their usages. This could be simple initiation by municipality or Energy Distribution Authority to provide “star card” as reward for conservation or lesser conservation of energy. Higher the stars, better the household’s effort on conservation of energy. Such star card could be used for varieties of purposes like getting discount on state-produced products, organic food, etc. Another method could be hanging around shiny metals of different color with unique representation hanging on gateway.

In similar manner to impression, another tactic to change paradigm of consuming energy and shift it more towards conserving is to play with “Social Status” concept of people. People often consider certain trade as symbol of status and certain as not. This is perfectly depicted by smart phone phenomena of recent time. What was considered ‘status symbol’ half a decade back has now become part of everyday life and they are being available at very reasonable prices as well. It might take some time, but making Solar Roof a status symbol at beginning and then ‘part of life’ could tremendously help us in farming our own energy. “Solar Roof” can be gifted for those who conserve energy well above their targeted goal as a part of this initiatives and start creating wave of campaign on ‘Solar Roof’ as higher status symbol.

“Carbon Trade scheme” like concept can also be adopted to encourage people to conserve energy. People can be provided with goal to minimize their consumption of energy based on their past energy consuming habits. The difference between their past and current consumption can be used as ‘energy stock’. Like Carbon stock, such energy stock could be sold to those who are unable to change their consumption habit. This will in one hand reward those with interest in saving energy and encouraging their conservation habit meanwhile make “unnecessary energy consumption” a luxury to those who are not able to change their habits. It will create win-win situation to both team and latter being highly encouraged to conserve energy to shed off the ever increasing price.

In addition, we can often find how deeply religion is rooted to billions of people irrespective of religion they follow. Such strong belief and faith on religion could be smartly used to change habits of followers and drive them into conserving energy if Leaders like Pope Francis from other religion preaching for energy conservation are also highlighted by mainstream Medias.

While selling facts might seem tangible to encourage people to save energy. Such counts for really far lesser population. With human psychology strongly effecting individual’s action, if we emphasize on reaching out emotions, hitting temperament and what they actually believe in, we can ease our way to encourage people to conserve energy.

-Rahul Acharya
Agriculture and Forestry University

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