Saturday, 29 November 2014

WARNING: This might not work

San Francisco County are proposing putting this sign on petrol pumps, like warnings on cigarette packets or alcohol, it highlights the damage of fuel consumption. The idea of drawing attention to the damage of fuel is admirable but I think it's going to go the other way; first of all the idea is abstract, a quantifiable amount of carbon dioxide isn't something people can picture. It's summed up nicely at the end but I don't think it makes it any easier for the public to link actions and consequences. The other is that cars and freedom of mobility is an engrained value to the American Right. This could be viewed as an encroachment on their freedom and rights further shutting them off to the idea of environmental protection.

Whilst the transport sector is hugely problematic to mitigating climate change there are better ways to tackle it. Improving vehicle efficiency, making public transport more affordable or encouraging cycle routes will have a much better impact than demonising individual actions. People do not react well to being told off or to making personal sacrifices. There are certainly gains to be made on the individual level but they need to be encouraged as a way of improving lives not making the public the enemy of the planet.

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