"There’s a useful concept from psychology that helps explain why good people do
things that harm the environment: the false consensus effect. That’s where we
overestimate how acceptable and prevalent our own behaviour is in society.
Put simply, if you’re doing something (even if you secretly know you probably
shouldn’t), you’re more likely to think plenty of other people do it too.
What’s more, you likely overestimate how much other people think that behaviour
is broadly OK.
This bias allows people to justify socially unacceptable or illegal behaviours.
Researchers have observed the false consensus effect in drug use, how well
nurses follow certain procedures at work, and illegal hunting in Africa.
More recently, conservationists and environmental researchers are beginning to
reveal how the false consensus effect contributes to environmental damage."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics