People Won't Care if They Can't See the Problem

It's kind of hard to tell, on a day-to-day basis, that humankind is drastically affecting the health of the environment -- a reality that makes arguing for sustainability even more difficult, according to Harry West.
November 18, 2010, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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In this piece from Fast Co. Design, West argues that many environmental issues are placed out of mind because they can't easily be seen.

"A couple of years ago at Continuum we made a study of how regular people think about sustainability. We learned that basically, people care most about themselves and their family, and then they care about problems they can see. People focus on recycling because they can see the stuff they recycle; they are concerned about plastic because they can see that it is not a natural material. People cannot see greenhouse gasses, and they cannot see the history of what they use, so it is difficult for people to care as much about meat, lighting, travel, heat, air conditioning, etc. Even though these elements are a far larger part of our carbon footprint, they don't feel unnatural in the moment, and you cannot see the environmental impact of their production."

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Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 in Fast Co. Design
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