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Собираемся мы выжить или нет?When Dutch Explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722 arrived at Easter island, before him stood a desert landscape and society on the brink of environmental collapse, although just a few centuries before the island was covered with dense forests and inhabited by people highly developed culture.

What happened? Natural disaster? No, civilization itself brought into trouble." The islanders were fighting for the status, setting enormous stone statues. For transportation, the latter was taken so many tree that 1722 forests have been almost completely deforested. Tribal living in harmony with nature, is only a romantic image.

Fast forward to the modern world. A recent poll conducted in the US revealed that, although the vast majority of people would like to preserve nature, only less than 10% of respondents use environmentally friendly products or work to reduce quantity of consumed resources. It is obvious that the main problem is to change our habits.

Why? Perhaps part of the blame our evolutionary roots. Natural selection has given people's psychology, which is better suited to hunters and gatherers: immediate satisfaction of their own interests we put above the need to reduce long-term environmental damage. "After us the deluge".

But those same instincts may be useful in the development of more effective policies for sustainable development. According to evolutionary theory, the interests of the individual are extended to his family. Thus, calling, say, to save water, for greater efficiency it should be mentioned that first of all you care about children and grandchildren. In short, you should always emphasize the kinship of all against all: mother nature, all people are brothers and sisters...

Cope with our desire to have a bird in the hand. Research suggests that most people prefer to get a hundred dollars now than a hundred and fifty a month. But evolutionary theory is that people can change depending on how much they invest in the future. Should develop a policy to encourage those who work in the long term. And sites like Treehugger.com should help such people in search of the partner for creation of family.

Another problem is connected with the status. We want luxury. In reality, however, consumption growth does not make people happy. Since 1946, the average income of the U.S. population grew by 140%, but the average level of happiness has not changed. During that fight?

In fact, the desire to be kind, compassionate, etc., is also a struggle for status. Publication of the list of companies who care about nature, is also advertising, the more that social networking is gaining momentum fashion shaming those firms that do not want to become "green".

It is worth mentioning such an underestimated factor, as the imitation of others. People do not want to admit that the behavior neighbors affects their own environmental habits, but in reality it is one of the most vivid indicators of predicting the energy and water consumption. So useless to ask someone to save, if everything around you continue to use electricity and pour water. For example, the authorities are trying in vain to prevent the removal of petrified wood from the Petrified forest national Park in Arizona (USA), informing visitors about the high number of thefts. On the contrary, in one of the hotels indwell reported that guests usually re-using the same towels at least once. In the practice of reuse has increased by 34%. American energy company Opower telling customers about how wonderful save electricity by their neighbors. If you save a better neighbors, in your account, you receive a smiley.

But the most difficult problem is our reluctance to respond to new threats. You know perfectly well that the environment is being destroyed, but in your neighborhood, still no smog, even the trees in the shops there are still cheap and tasty food. If we do not see, hear or feel smells, it is difficult for us to understand that our habits affect the environment. What can I do here? For example, in the Netherlands experimentally found that on the trains, where containers pained cleaners, the amount of waste decreased by 70%.

Another option is to awaken our congenital biophilia. It is known that in those urban areas where the streets showing video with beautiful landscapes, people become more sensitive to the environment. And even better - the widespread planting of streets, yards and interiors.

The result is that our evolutionary roots not so bad, we just have to use them wisely.

The results of some mentioned here research published in Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.

Prepared according to NewScientist.
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