‘Eco-shaming’ is on the rise, but does it work?

bottle sea

(Brian Yurasits, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Elaine Thelen, Writer, Formative Content


How are your green credentials? Unless they’re whiter than white, you may encounter a new phenomenon: ‘eco-shaming’.

With environmental activism on the rise this year as the consequences of climate change become all too clear, there’s a new trend to call out people who pollute the planet.

Take the use of plastic, for example. Single-use plastic bags are now recognized as a huge problem for the environment. Because they can’t be recycled, they end up in landfill – or find their way into the world’s oceans and are ingested by fish and, eventually, us.

How plastic enters the food chain.
Image: WWF Solving Plastic Pollution Through Accountability

Countries around the world are introducing ways to deal with the plastic problem. Rwanda has had a ban on plastic bags for more than a decade, while Canada has recently announced plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021, including grocery bags, plastic cutlery and straws.

But one grocery store owner in Vancouver came up with a cunning plan to discourage shoppers from using plastic bags.

PLASTIC

What is the World Economic Forum doing about ending plastic pollution?

Their groceries were placed in bags reading “Wart Ointment Wholesale”, “The Colon Care Co-Op” or “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium”.

However, the idea slightly back-fired as people flocked to the grocery store paying the five-cent plastic bag penalty just to get their hands on the unique designs.

Shamed on social

When it comes to protecting the earth’s natural habitat, social media is playing its part.

Instagram posts are highlighting bad behaviour on America’s public lands. A post on an account of a woman holding a bouquet of uprooted poppies from a national park attracted caustic commentary, as well as investigations from the National Park Service.

An online petition was set up calling for Instagram and Facebook to “act immediately and implement a system allowing users to report violations that are both illegal and harmful to the environment”.

Whether the vigilantes on social media are altering the behaviour of those whose posts they shame remains to be seen, but one area where shaming appears to have worked is Swedish air travel.

Flight shaming

In Sweden, travellers are becoming more and more conscious of their carbon footprint. And they’ve invented a word to discourage people taking to the skies: “Flygskam” – which means flight shame.

Swedes are increasingly looking to travel in a way that is less harmful to the environment. The impact has been particularly felt on domestic flights, with passenger numbers down by 15% in April alone, compared with last year. In a recent survey, a quarter of Swedes said they had decided not to fly to save the planet.

 

And if they’re not flight shaming, the Swedes are train bragging. Swedish travellers took two million extra rail journeys last year. So yes, they have a special word for that, too: “Tagskryt” – and it’s widely used on social media by those who want to encourage others to do the same.

It would appear that there are areas where eco-shaming works and those where it doesn’t, but most agree that protecting the environment is becoming more urgent and needs action by everyone.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Parliament sets conditions on EU-China investment deal

The Bank of China at European Business Summit 2015

Four million Syrian children have only known war since birth: UNICEF

Appalling overall unemployment in Eurozone at 20.6%

Mental health and suicide prevention

4 key steps towards a circular economy

What my transgender child can teach us about the workforce of the future

Fake news and Freedom of Press: can the EU ever find the fine line?

Rise in Caribbean children displaced by storms shows climate crisis is a child rights issue: UNICEF

‘Being open about my mental health created a better work culture’

Who should pay for workers to be reskilled?

Brexit and migration dominates the debate on October’s EU summit

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

Banks launch green charter to help shipping reduce its carbon footprint

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

Thai citizenship means ‘dream of a brighter future’ for cave rescue boys, says UN Refugee Agency

Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province

Don’t compare data to oil – digitization needs a new mindset

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

The DNA of the future retail CEO

Yemen: UN Envoy ‘guilty’ of optimistic hope that war is ‘nearing the end’

What’s really driving corporate climate action?

Europe to turn the Hamburg G20 Summit into a battlefield

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

Germany: A grand coalition may trouble employers and bankers

UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

The umpteenth Italian overturn takes Renzi and PD to unprecedented victory at EU elections

This is what a Green New Deal for Europe could look like

Confirmed ‘Blue Line’ tunnels ‘do not appear’ to surface in Israel – UN peacekeeping chief

What do the economic woes of Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia have in common?

Syrians still living on ‘razor edge’ as UN launches $8.8 billion dollar appeal

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Draghi joined Macron in telling Germany how Eurozone must be reformed

The EU resumes budget support assistance to the Republic of Moldova

UN migration agency launches $10 million appeal to support hurricane recovery in The Bahamas

EU Budget: InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe

Sponsored content: when QUALITY meets OPEX in manufacturing

The green hydrogen revolution has started, and it won’t be stopped

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

Negative inflation hits Eurozone, ECB to print and distribute one trillion euro earlier than expected

EU consumer rules: Airbnb cooperates with European Commission and EU consumer authorities improving the way it presents offers

Why this is the year we must take action on mental health

Air pollution, the ‘silent killer’ that claims seven million lives a year: rights council hears

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

Sustainable development demands a broader vision, says new OECD Development Centre report

The big challenge of leadership and entrepreneurship in Europe

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

Nicaragua must end ‘witch-hunt’ against dissenting voices – UN human rights experts

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

This afternoon Britain will be once more isolated from mainland Europe

‘Comprehensively include migrants’ or sustainable development won’t happen, warns General Assembly President

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

The AI doctor won’t see you now

Containers at the port of Tokyo. (Copyright: European Union, 2016. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi)

EU cuts fast-track free trade deals with Japan and Singapore and leads the trade scene

GSMA Announces Latest Event Updates for 2018 “Mobile World Congress Americas, in Partnership with CTIA”

UN agriculture chief urges ‘transformative changes’ to how we eat

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s