Tag Archives: save the world

How lazy people can save the world

21 Apr
From Bloomberg Businessweek

From Bloomberg Businessweek

We laughed when “Seinfeld” described itself as a show about nothing because we knew it was about everything. Now there is some thought that the way to solve the environmental crisis is to do nothing.

Let’s not laugh. It could fix everything.

This process, that involves nothing, was discussed in a Bloomberg Businessweek article called, “It’s Easy Being Green.” The key to it is something called default rules. The default rules take hold only when people do nothing. But first, governments, corporations or groups larger than the individual must act to set those pro-green defaults.

Each day we live with defaults, often not knowing they are there.

If you haven’t changed things on your cell phone or computer, they look and operate the way they do because of default settings – a ring tone or a screen saver or a folder icon. Your printer probably defaults to print on one side of a page.

Suppose each printer came with a default setting that printed to both side of the page?

According to Businessweek, Rutgers University imposed a double-sided default on all printers at that institution. After four years, it reduced paper consumption by more than 55 million sheets, which saved 4,650 trees.

That was one university.

Book-SimplerShould we choose to make it so, the default system could be extensive. In two towns in Germany, 90 percent of the people use clean energy (wind, solar, etc.) because that is the default. If you want the less-expensive, less-clean power, you have to do something. You have to tell them to change it for you.

As shown, most don’t.

This natural tendency toward laziness, procrastination and acceptance can be exploited for good. It doesn’t restrict freedom. It just points everyone in the right direction. If they choose, they can turn around and go the other way.

Learn more about doing nothing to save the world by reading “Simpler: The Future of Government,” by Cass R. Sunstein.

By Lanny Morgnanesi

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: