January 31, 2009

Saving energy… through peer pressure, of course!

Some eco-organizations, like Make Me Sustainable, have tried using Facebook-style networking to get people to lower their carbon emissions. But nothing, apparently, is as effective as shame -- a tactic used successfully by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which essentially gave 35,000 test customers a report card on each monthly bill, comparing their usage to their neighbors'. Customers who received the report cards reduced usage by 2 percent more than customers with standard bills, reports the NY Times. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, three towns competed on a reality show to lower their energy usage. We may grow up, but it seems our inner child never really does leave grade school.

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