How can we encourage people to use less energy?

Fifty percent of the electricity production in the United States comes from burning coal. This is often an afterthought for most people, who simply want their lights to work when they turn them on. Convincing others to save energy can be a discouraging task if you can’t express the importance of doing so. However, persuading people to save energy will pay off in big dividends for your own and future generations.

Raise Environmental Awareness

Most people care about their future and the future of their children. That being said, it may not always be clear to them what is at stake with their energy usage. Turning off lights on when not in the room or making the switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs for instance, may not catch on with people who simply don’t see the negative effect of wasting energy.

When this is the case, simply making people aware of the environmental toll of their actions can be a shocking awakening. For example, many people who live in West Virginia are seeing their landscape change because of coal mining. Mountains that contain coal are sometimes completely demolished because of surface mining, the way in which the coal is extracted. Informing people of instances such as these are critical to helping people realize the impact of their energy consumption.

Personalize the Problem and Benefits

Even when you tell people how energy extraction and use is affecting the environment, this still may not be enough for them to make a change. Most people have to see how situations affect them personally before they take interest or will act in favor of your cause.

Telling people how much money they will save can help to get those who are more interested in personal gain on board. Using florescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs will help to lower energy consumption, and will therefore lower personal bill costs. Some might object to using energy-efficient bulbs, because they often cost more, thanks to their low demand. Showing people how quickly they will make their money back over time and how much they will save in the long run can be a gigantic motivator to personally reducing energy waste.

Provide Incentive

Doing some of the grunt work for others can also pay off big when you want to convince them to save energy. Telling them where the cheapest energy-efficient materials can be found or finding coupons on the items for them can help to ensure that people will do more than simply listen to your pleas. This will also help to present a solution to those who will make excuses that it's too hard to personally save energy.

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