Being right versus being effective

October 19th, 2010

Mr. Improbable sent me a link to this New York Times article about getting rural Kansans to embrace cleaner energy. Most of the people written about in the article don’t accept the reality of global climate change, so it was initially believed that getting them on the conservation bandwagon would be difficult — until clean-energy group “ran an experiment to see if by focusing on thrift, patriotism, spiritual conviction and economic prosperity, it could rally residents of six Kansas towns to take meaningful steps to conserve energy and consider renewable fuels.”

And it worked. Because it didn’t try to change people’s beliefs, or their values, or their identity. Rather, it asked them to live up to the values they already embraced.


3 Responses to “Being right versus being effective”

  1. JDavidJ on October 19, 2010 8:17 am

    I’ve felt for a long time that this is how it should be done, the world over. The debate about (man made) climate change won’t be over until it’s too late, but we can all save MONEY by using less energy, and we can be kind to our descendants if we leave them some oil.

    Wes Jackson is a very wise man.

  2. Shulamuth on October 19, 2010 8:00 pm

    I don’t see this as “right vs…” but rather a realization that there are often more than one right reason for doing something. I turn out my lights when I’m not in the room to conserve energy, but I also appreciate that it saves me money.

  3. Robin on October 19, 2010 8:52 pm

    I see it that way too, Shulamuth. But you know there are folks on both sides of the spectrum who would value ideological purity over pragmatically doing the right thing.

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