A recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals that people with children in their home were more motivated to turn off their lights due to concerns about air pollution than concerns over money. It's not every day when we hear that cost-savings aren't the driving force behind consumer decisions. If you work in the health sector, you can take the key message from this study and use it to promote protective environment and public health measures. Weaving climate change discussions into your health work is a logical way to do this.
"There's a perception in the industry that environmental messaging doesn't work. It turns people off. But this research underscores the fact that environmental messaging does work, and it works really well, and it works particularly well with people who have children," Mazur-Stommen said, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports below.
There are few better careers than that in medicine to underscore the links between climate and health. People who understand that their energy use corresponds to increased rates of diseases - such as childhood asthma and cancer - are more prone to cut their energy use. We know health care professionals "get it", too, and particularly because many medical professionals are parents. Climate for Health is offering support and inspiration to new leaders across the health sector to make a commitment to climate solutions within your career.
As a parent, I know that the health and well-being of my children is the most important thing in the world. Now, the health effects of climate change pose a challenge to them. What better way to tackle this problem than to infuse environmental health advocacy into the work you are already doing? And it can't hurt to set a wonderful example for your children.
Philadelphia Inquirer, January 18, 2015
Sandy Bauers, Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
In trying to encourage energy conservation, proponents often emphasize the money people will save on electricity bills.
But a new study out of California suggests that potential savings aren't a good motivator. What prompts people to switch off the lights and turn down the heat are concerns about health and air pollution.
And not even concerns about their own immediate health, it turns out. Public health and the health of their children are powerful incentives.
In the study, which involved 118 grad student apartments at the University of California, Los Angeles, people who regularly got e-mail messages about how much money they could save made few to no changes in their energy consumption.
But people who got messages saying how much air pollution their energy use corresponded to - and reminding them that the pollution is linked to diseases such as childhood asthma and cancer - cut their energy use an average of 8 percent.
People with children in the home were even more motivated, cutting their energy use nearly 20 percent.
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