Diffusion of responsibility.
As individuals, we each contribute just a little bit to climate change. Collectively, our actions dangerously alter the chemistry of our planet. There is a diffusion of responsibility so we fail to take action. The warning label addresses this by locating responsibility right in the palm of our hands.
Many of the harms of climate change are experienced far in the future. We get little feedback today so there is no signal to change our behaviour. The image on the label addresses this by bringing faraway consequences—like famine, the extinction of species and extreme weather— into the here and now.
The label will change some behaviours but, more importantly, they will create a shift in the social environment to facilitate political action on climate change.
What might this article say after we implement #FaceTheChange?
“Toronto’s leaders have not persuaded the public of the need for more spending on transit to break through the region’s growing gridlock. Surveys… show people in Toronto and Hamilton are opposed to paying new taxes and fees to raise the billions needed to expand regional transportation infrastructure.” –Globe and Mail, 2012.
“Guilt is the emotional response to a self-perceived shortfall with respect to one’s own standards of conduct, and people who feel guilty feel a moral responsibility to behave differently (Moser, 2007) or are motivated to make amends… Moreover, it is possible that people may not like messages that make them feel guilty, but the messages may nonetheless be effective (Czopp, Monteith, & Mark, 2006).” – Psychology & Global Climate Change, American Psychological Association
- John Lorinc. “Residents remain skeptical on Metrolinx funding.” The Globe and Mail. 24 October 2012.
- American Psychological Association. Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change. “Psychology and Global Climate Change: addressing a multifaceted phenomenon and set of challenges.” Washington D.C. UNT Digital Library.