We usually overestimate our level of commitment to the environment according to an interesting new study produced by researchers at the University of Gothenburg. According to the researchers, who analyzed the questionnaire responses of several people from the United States, Sweden, India and England, most people tend to consider themselves to be more environmentally friendly than others.
The researchers calculated the answers to the questionnaires of more than 4000 people. The questions were related to people’s pro-environmental activities, such as buying environmentally friendly products, saving domestic energy or using plastics less every day. The researchers found that most of the answers were related to people who thought they were more environmentally friendly than others.
According to Magnus Bergquist, this study shows that there is indeed a tendency for us to overestimate our environmental capabilities. This is an “over-optimism” and certainly cannot be positive in terms of environmentally friendly behaviour. Too much optimism, for example, can diminish the motivation that a person may have to act in an environmentally friendly way and in general can lead people who are too optimistic to be less environmentally friendly.
It is also a logical concept, as the researcher himself points out: “If you think about it logically, the majority cannot be more environmentally friendly than others”. If the majority of people were environmentally friendly, we would not be in the current situation.