Selling sustainability? Think of the Past

Selling sustainability? Think of the Past

Mar 6, 2019
Image credit: Jordan Whitt via Unsplash
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Conservative Americans are more skeptical of measures to combat climate change as they age, according to Pew Research.

Thirty percent of conservatives 65 and older in the United States believe government policies to fight climate change will do more harm than good, for example, compared to 23 percent who believe policies will do the reverse.

“This trend makes some sense from a purely pragmatic standpoint,” wrote in Fast Company. “To put it bluntly: Seniors have much less stake in earth’s future than do younger generations.”

But, of course, seniors must help younger generations avert and prepare for a future where climate change causes more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and other challenges.

Fast Company suggested using nostalgia to bridge the gap between old and young generations.

For example, liberals who pushed the New Green Deal, a proposal to boost sustainable development and adopt progressive policies like universal public healthcare in the US, purposely harkened back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.

More than 80 percent of voters supported the New Green Deal’s proposed policies. Partisan attacks on the package undermined support for it, however – showing how ideology is a potent force in undermining public confidence in popular ideas.

But ideology can be overcome.

Fast Company cited a Journal of Consumer Research study that confirmed that nostalgia is an excellent way to sell products or ideas, suggesting that green policies might succeed if their promoters are more conscious about invoking the past when selling their ideas.


Image credit: Jordan Whitt via Unsplash