Tuesday, 4 March 2014

conspicuously green

Snowdrops.  In mud.  One day soon the rain
will stop and Spring will spring.
I was listening to the rather marvellous podcast, Freakonomics today.  Catching up on the old ones I missed, and I came across a corker.  It's called 'Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You're Driving?' and you'll find it here.

On the podcast they were talking about research which shows that left leaning people are more likely to be 'green' than right leaning people.  So no surprise there then.

They were then saying that people who think of themselves as environmentally friendly like to be seen by others as being environmentally friendly.  They called it conspicuous conservation.

A Toyota Prius.  Definitely looks like a car.
Pic from here.  Toyota Prius webpage here.
How do the researchers know this to be so?  Well for one thing there's the cars that we drive.  There are several different models of hybrid car available, but only one that is completely dissimilar to an equivalent petrol or diesel fueled car.  That one is the Prius, and it makes up about half of all hybrid cars sold.  Apparently the Prius is instantly recognisable as such.  Don't ask me.  A friend has one, I know because one of my children was excited about it, but to me it just looks like a car.

There is of course an argument that a hybrid car is not actually all that environmentally friendly, what with all the fuel used to make the electricity to charge it.  But in my humble opinion it's a really good step in the right direction.  My ideal scenario is that we all have electric Google Cars one day... or maybe not actually have them, but we'll use them to get about.  I would be very happy to live without actually having to run a car myself.

Anyway, the researchers found that people bought a Prius because of what it says about them.  They didn't just want to take a drive in an electric car, they wanted everyone else to know about it.  Which gives me a great excuse for a song by They Might be Giants.  Et voila.


Apparently people having solar panels fitted will often go out of their way to have them fitted where they can be seen - even if the sunnier side of the house is the back.  I must admit, I thought this was pretty silly, but then again, I would certainly be willing to compromise my TV signal a little bit to avoid having a Sky dish on the front of my house, so who am I to talk?

What do you think?  Would you want your neighbours to see your solar panels (oo er missus)?  What about if you lived in Scotland and could pay for solar panels to be fitted to a house in Suffolk, the sunniest part of the UK?  You'd get the benefits of the panels, as well as the cost, but would you rather have the panels in Scotland?

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The book challenge
Words at 4/3/14 - 59,122.
552 words written so far this month (not great, but better than none).
Where I'm at in First Draft - early Chapter 11.
What I did last - a scene with my hero swinging into action.  Lots of muscles and tight trousers.  Phew!