The Psychology Behind Going Green: New Vs. Familiar

Ask Bongo

Ask Bongo

It is hard to do new things. It is hard to do things differently. We humans love patterns. We love the familiar. Familiarity feels comfortable, cozy, and pleasant. It feels safe. Yet growth and progress inevitably means that we must do things that are new. The very fact that they are new means that they will be different — something we have never done or experienced before. The buildings we build, the materials we use daily, the patterns and rituals of our existence need to morph and transform to fit a sustainable model. How can we manage all of this growth, when all we want to do is crawl back into the cocoon of the comfortable?

Understanding the problem in this way sheds light onto it immediately. If we know that we love the comfortable, why not disguise the new as something familiar? Technology has used this mind hack for decades. We all use “desktops” and “folders” to organize our computerized offices. The green movement does this in a sense, because it conforms to old systems and ways of operating instead of breaking molds and doing things drastically differently. For example, the design of the electric car is very similar to gas powered cars, though the design constraints are very different. This hack allows people to feel unconsciously comfortable with the car, because it conforms to their existing ideas about how a car should look.

Understanding the problem is helpful, but it doesn’t mean we can overlook or bypass it. You might think that once you see how the human psychological love for the familiar is holding you back, that you could just ‘switch it off’ and move forward with out catering to it. This is not so. Just because we see the problem does not mean we outgrow it automatically. Things like this take time.

For now, it is best to use the understanding in order to foster growth. Yes, this might mean letting our human selves take comfort in the familiar. The thing is, we can infuse the familiar with progressive attributes, tricking ourselves and being more sustainable at the same time.

The technology at our fingertips in this day is capable of doing so much more than we allow it to. We have accumulated knowledge and databases that have the power to help us accomplish more than we can even imagine at this point. We can understand ourselves and our emotions on a whole new level. For example, did you know that the super-intelligence behind a light-hearted “Ask Bongo” text messaging service can give you psychological insight about your relationships, based on a powerful software and a huge database? There is so much to learn from the data that the world wide web and our now interconnected information age can provide.

Loving what is familiar sounds somewhat lazy, doesn’t it? You might think, ‘well, others might get stuck in their comfort zone, but not me!’ Take a moment to examine this belief. Sustainability and the green movement counts on individual participation in order to effect worldwide change.

Look at your own behaviors, and you might get some insight into how deep this truth really is. Do you feel comforted by your routine, and by things you feel that you know? If you can’t answer that question, look at the data in your life. Your bank account might show a pattern: grocery store, housing, the same restaurants. The same flow of money in and money out, like a tide rising and falling. That is a pattern reflecting the way you cling to the familiar!

Only our limited perspectives, and our love for the familiar and safe hold us back. Understanding the way we value and hold on to the familiar is just one step towards growth.

How Product Design Today Can Make the World More Sustainable Tomorrow

The issue of sustainability has become part of discussions in the production industry. Our social well-being, as well as our environment, depends on the sustainable development of products. Many households these days use electricity to power appliances such as irons and electric kettles. Some of these products aren’t energy efficient. A large percentage of the world wastes electrical energy that can otherwise be used to light up street lamps.

So, what’s sustainability? We can define sustainability as a design approach that focuses on social, environmental and financial elements. The aim of this approach is to come up with practical solutions that are eco-friendly. Some of the ways to achieve sustainability in product design include proper management of waste and making use of natural resources. All this can be done through reducing over-consumption, embracing diversity, reusing, recycling and minimizing the carbon footprint.

In today’s business world, almost everything revolves around technology. The digital items we use affect our environment. There are several apps used for activities such as shopping, printing, sharing documents, food, transportation, travel and much more. Companies should be more conscious when developing products that influence the daily habits of consumers. They need to consider the impact of their goods on the environment. Many businesses have already embraced the idea of creating sustainable products. Studies show that these kinds of products improve sales and the consumer experience.

For a more sustainable tomorrow, designers should consider different factors. Their solutions must be in line with the requirements of sustainability. The usability and functionality of products can help conserve the environment. Companies need to offer products that consume less energy and last longer. When you have a durable item, you won’t need to buy new ones after every few months. This will help in reducing the amount of non-degradable waste.

Avoiding the usage of plastics in product design is important. Many eco-friendly materials can be used to create sustainable products are readily available. Food delivery services, for instance, should avoid including plastic cutlery in their deliveries. This way, consumers will get used to the idea of using their silverware. Plastic cutlery is not only bad for the environment, but it can affect the health of consumers. All types of businesses need to educate their customers on the importance of sustainability. The best way to do this is through the production of eco-friendly items.

Product designers have to take into account the type of energy they use in production. They should avoid any form of energy that emits greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbon and carbon dioxide. Some of the “green” energy solutions include wind farms and solar panels. Manufacturers of electronics should include energy-efficient features in their products. For instance, they can include solar panels as an alternative to battery power or electricity. Besides, manufacturers need to encourage their consumers to go green.

The best way to ensure we have a healthy environment in future is to start making sustainable products today. Product designers have a responsibility to help the world secure a sustainable tomorrow. Every business should work towards keeping the environment clean.

Awesome Marketing Strategies That Small Businesses Can Utilize To Boost Sales

Small businesses are the hardest hit in the race to secure a share of the market, and this is due to their lack of essential tools and exposure. Being new in a market should not keep a business struggling longer if unique strategies are applied to boost its performance. Unlike the already established competitors, a new entrant into the business world will have to use techniques that are different and powerful than ones used by competing businesses. To easily achieve growth in sales, a small business should try these proven strategies.

Facebook Marketing

One of the benefits you have when you use Facebook advertising is that you can specifically target those you know are interested in your products. The ads allow you to target a select audience, so you will not waste effort by placing the ad on a platform that connects with anyone including those who might not be interested in the product. With this you can use filters like location, sex, age, online behavior, interest among other factors. It is also fairly easy to create a Facebook ad, so a small business will find this strategy easy to execute and responsive as well.

Google My Business Listing

Like Facebook marketing, Google My Business allows you to target your local clients. With this option, Google allows you to combine all your platforms, which include Google Maps, Google Analytics, Google+ and Google Insights to mention a few. If your business has a unique name, when someone searches about it photos and details about the business will be displayed on a panel located on the top right corner of the page, which gives a clear preview of what you deal in. You also have to note that getting your Google My Business listing to rank well is easy because you only need to make sure your profile is optimized then collect citations and reviews from different people.

Organic social media

You could also use social media to offer customer support. Research shows that at least 33 percent of people prefer to access support through social media as opposed to traditional methods like email phone calls. Social media also allows you to understand what your customers think about your products and brand, so through the information collected you can make improvements. Grace Lever advises that nearly all companies have social media platforms that are active and this should tell you that your competitors are also online, which means ignoring this option could deal your business a huge blow while trying to beat competition.

Coupon deal sites

Another marketing option that a small business can use to drive sales is selling through coupon deal sites. These are sites that promote your business while also listing your products for sale, and most of them have massive audience. Websites like Groupon can help your business to reach its targeted audience faster and allow you to sell more than relying on in-house marketing. Nearly all processes have gone digital and getting things done in the digital way is the best idea you could pursue while building a small business.

How Generations X, Y, and Z Consume Video Content

Younger generations consumer more video content than their older counter parts. But, the way generations consume video content varies. YouTube and Snapchat are the leaders in the creation of video content. Snapchat is not very popular with Generation X but is quickly gaining in popularity with Generation Z. Differences between these generations may seem obvious at first but they are differences that can be capitalized on in creative ways. Mastering this knowledge will help you reach new markets and strengthen existing ones. Krystal Perkins would agree and her favorite platform is YouTube.

Generation X
Generation X is the demographic that directly follows the baby boomers. They were usually born between the 1960s and early 1980s. Generation X finds how-to videos and product review videos to be their preferred video types on YouTube. Generation X is also most interested in educational videos and finds YouTube to be their favorite platform for watching videos over Instagram, snapchat, or Facebook. They are also not fans of snapchat and a very small percentage don’t use YouTube at all.

Generation Y
Generation Y is the group of people who were born between the 1980s and early 1990s. This is the generation that is right between Generation X and Generation Z. They are also known as the Millennials. Generation Y is shortly behind Generation Z in terms of watching YouTube videos daily. Like Generation X, Generation Y also found product review videos to be their preferred way to consume video content. Generation Y also watches the most workout videos and still favors YouTube as their favorite platform to watch videos on over Instagram and Facebook.

Generation Z
Generation Z is the youngest generation and are born from the mid-1990s to early 2000s. This generation is the generation that is on the internet the most and from a very young age. People in this generation are usually very comfortable with technology so it is to no surprise that they are the generation that watches the most YouTube videos. This generation is also known as the Post-Millennials or the Homeland Generation. People in this demographic still favored product review videos but they are also very likely to enjoy unboxing and haul videos.

Distinctions between these three generations can clearly be seen. These are important factors to think about when considering who will be watching your videos. When targeting a specific market, it is necessary to make your content fit the preferences of the ones you want to consume it. This will create a more intimate relationship with the markets you want to serve, thus increasing your potential earnings.

Roundup: What green/sustainable idea or technology most excites you?

We asked what green/sustainable technology most excited you and why. Here’s what you had to say.

I love having smartphone apps handy to learn more about the ingredients in my food or skin care products. Making this kind of information easy to access can help consumers to make better choices for their health and the environment. My favorite apps right now are Healthy Living by EWG, Fooducate, ClimateCounts, and GoodGuide. Mary Helen Leonard  @marymakesgood

Solar panels, for I think obvious reasons, and that Honey Nut Cheerios is supporting an initiative to give wildflower seed packets out to everyone to help bring back the bees! Melanie Odette @Smellyann

Harnessing solar energy to power your home really excites me. It’s an opportunity to create really clean energy and to have the peace of mind that in the event of an emergency you could still provide power to your home.  Candice @FCMammas

I really like the idea of solar panels. I love the fact that they are better for the earth and lower bills every month. Tabitha Willette  @tabbyspantry

Photovoltaic panels – we have the tallest house on our street. It is an amazing option for us. Athena Nagel  @stuffofsuccess

Solar Bargnhtress @Bargnhtr

 

The Passivhaus Movement Comes to Australia

The Passivhaus is a German concept design for structures based on passive solar research done by the U.S. Department of Energy in the 1970s. Translated from German, the name literally means a “passive house,” and these structures are built with most rigorous design stipulations in an effort to be spend as little energy as possible when running a building.

The idea behind the passive house should be a starting point for the plans of all buildings, because it begins with a standard of energy-efficiency at its core. Passive houses aim to come as close to zero energy as possible, and though its success depends on many factors, the ambition of efficiency for the sake of environmental care is good for everyone.

Qualities of a Passivhaus

For a home or building to be a passive house, it must meet certain criteria. The guideline for these criteria are on a spreadsheet called the PHPP, Passive House Planning Package. A few of the qualifications that make a house passive are:

  • Superinsulation
  • No thermal bridges
  • Airtight
  • Heat-Recovery Ventilation, or HRV
  • Optimal passive solar design
  • High-performance doors and double glazed windows
  • Leverages internal heat gain

Image Source: By Passivhaus_section_en.jpg: Passivhaus Institutderivative work: Michka B (talk) – Passivhaus_section_en.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9586761

When a home is built with an efficient passive design, it can reduce the thermal load of a structure by 90 percent. In such homes, comfort is provided from a few sources:

  • Passive solar heat
  • Heat waste from electrical tools and appliances
  • People’s indoor activities

The level of detail is exacting and would intimidate most Australian designers, builders and engineers. However, those working with the NatHERS system won’t be surprised by these prescriptive standards.

The Viability of the Passivhaus in Australia

The obstacles to passive houses in Australia involve airtightness, which has been a major difficulty for some of the nation’s contractors. There is some misconception that passive houses are like hermetically sealed boxes — the antithesis of the Australian lifestyle. In truth, Passivhaus provides an energy-efficient solution that allows for a comfortable indoor temperature.

The HRV systems take dirty air that’s exhausted from the structure and recirculates 100% fresh, filtered air so that, even in the heat of Australia, passive houses offer a sustainable and affordable solution to temperature fluctuations. The resistance to Passivhaus in Australia has been in part due to a fear that windows would forever be shut, but that isn’t accurate.

Experts who have experience in the design of passive houses suggest that when these structures are designed according to those exacting specifications, the opening and closing of windows is actually beneficial to the overall performance of the building.

ACM Group Discusses Environmental Protection

ACM Group is an organization whose priority to educate people about what they can do to conserve natural resources. They want to be able to help keep the Australian flora and the fauna around for the next generation to enjoy. This group is looking to have people learn about the environment so that generation to come can enjoy the natural landscape of Australia. They want to make sure that the next generation can go to the beach and swim in clean what that is pollution free.

The Great Barrier Reef is a popular attraction in Australia and everyday it is being damaged by pollution. The ACM Group wants people to understand the importance of keeping the water clean before it is too late for the reef and the marine life that lives in it. If the reefs die not only will this hurt the environment but it will hurt tourism as well.

The Adani coal mine would cause damage and pollution to the waters. The ACM Group wants to stress to people how dangerous this is and that nothing good can come with the mine. They are working hard to spread awareness of the dangers of this mine and the harm that it can do to the environment and the people of Australia.

ACM Group on the Impact of Climate Change on Ocean Life

Climate change is having an impact on all life in the oceans. This is because it is affecting all levels of the food chain. When the simple organisms that others feed on become ill or die off, the ripple effect can be devastating.

Coral bleaching is one example of this. The bleaching signals that necessary symbiotic organisms have been shed, and the coral will die. Plankton, too, are affected. If fewer phytoplankton are producing oxygen, the future of all life on Earth may be in jeopardy.

For saltwater reef fish such as the angelfish, climate change is already having an impact. These species are being found much farther north than they used to be. As rabbitfish and other herbivorous fish migrate away from the environments they are accustomed to, they are wreaking havoc on kelp forests farther north. They disrupt the lush plant life protecting animals such as abalone. As abalone have become more vulnerable, their numbers are dwindling.

The future, however, may well be bright. Organizations such as ACM Group (Australian Conservation Monitoring Group) exist to hold accountable the social, ethical and environmental activities of business operating in our country as well as local and federal government and their policies in Australia.  Plenty of innovative solutions designed to forge partnerships with private businesses are being formulated. For lovers of fish and the ocean, this issue is one to watch.

Shaun Barratt on Why Solar Power Continues to Be Best Option for Future Energy Needs

The notion that solar power represents what is likely the best option for addressing the world’s energy needs well into the future should really come as no surprise. Shaun Barratt recently spoke to some colleagues in the green energy industry to discuss while there are countless reasons for solar energy’s status as the most efficient option for the world’s long-term energy demands, it is somewhat surprising that, according to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the solar industry likely possesses the capability for terawatt-scale energy output by the year 2050 — even in the absence of any major advancements in the available technology.

 

That such an output is considered likely in the relatively near future is impressive, and that sort of output should certainly draw the attention of world leaders who have thus far dragged their feet in emphasizing this technology or taking steps to lay the foundation for the large-scale implementation of solar power. Considering the fact that the terawatt-scale output is predicted without accounting for any emerging technologies, it is certainly not a stretch to believe that this output could achieved much sooner or could be potentially greater than the MIT study projects.

 

In fact, there are emerging innovations that may indeed play a role in the development of this sort of output, as there are a number of thin-film technologies that already utilize sustainable production materials. According to the same MIT study that predicts the terawatt-scale output, these thin-film technologies could benefit significantly from support at the federal level through the allocation of financial resources that would further any necessary research and development.

 

While even the most ardent climate-change deniers are starting to come around, it is still necessary for a great deal of work to be done in moving energy away from non-renewable sources to sustainable energy options, including, perhaps most notably, solar power. Federal investment into these projects is a must, as the MIT study notes that “massive expansion of solar generation worldwide by mid-century is likely a necessary component of any serious strategy to mitigate climate change.”

 

With the costs of harnessing solar energy coming down significantly over the years — along with solar energy’s status as a widely available resource — it is now simply a matter of continuing to promote the use of solar power as a viable source of energy. It is in the best interest of the federal government to continue to adopt policies that promote the widespread use of solar power in order to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources, as the MIT study has made it clear that the widespread implementation of solar energy must take place on a significant scale over the next few decades.

Darren Pawski Expounds on Latest Green Energy Investment Data

Judging solely by the recent headlines regarding the current state of green energy investment, one might jump to the conclusion that the recently agreed upon Paris Climate Accord did not have the intended effect. This would be a relatively reasonable assumption since it is a simple fact of the matter that green energy investing has declined considerably when compared to this time just one year ago. Darren Pawski is known for clarifying data relating to all manner of investments, which is why he offered his insight regarding the practical implications associated with the most recently released green energy investment data.

According to Pawski, there are many reasons for the decline in investments and those reasons actually represent progress in terms of the global implementation and usage of green energy technologies. The finance and investment expert first pointed out that a large reason for the decline in green energy investing is the fact that the cost of implementation has decreased so sharply in such a short period of time. As more consumers continue to invest in these technologies, the costs will decrease precipitously before eventually stabilizing. It is essential to understand that this data only means that spending on green energy has decreased, which does not necessarily correlate with a decline in interest or viability.

Other observers have correctly noted that the previous year’s level of investment in green energy technology was truly historic and would be difficult to match under any circumstance. Based on the investment data from 2013 and 2014, the rate of spending in 2015 increased by 11 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Even so, policy measures and systems of support have to be in place to ensure that any spending decline is nothing more than an aberration instead of the beginning of a downward trend.