Sustainable morality on everyone's lips
Sustainability and ecological awareness are in vogue, with youth and young adults in particular driving the issues. Generation Greta and the Fridays for Future movement stand for the longing for a green, healthy world without human and animal suffering. But the target groups over 30 are also coming under moral pressure. And in principle, the conscious and critical attitude of the younger generation is perceived as appropriate.
This development was already taking place before Corona, but now it has accelerated rapidly, as some examples from the media show: Breakfast television shows which vegetables you can grow in your own living room. Bee or insect mortality was one of the top media topics before Corona. Before Corona, society talked about particulate matter and the evil automobile industry and demanded car-free inner cities and the long-awaited electromobility that is increasingly shaping our present. According to a recent study, 40 percent of all Europeans are willing to change their behaviour, and many firmly believe that they can make a difference with personal behavioural changes .
Where does this change of mood come from?
The cultural upheaval
Psychologically, the debate on sustainability and ecology is a form of mediation that emerged after the last years of maximising consumption. Consumption at any price and according to the motto "I - now - everything - at any time" collapsed with Corona at the latest. Because parallel to the "maximisation culture", a "reflection culture" developed in which we searched for new leitmotifs and ultimately for the meaning of our own lives. In this context, Corona is to be understood as an emergency brake that helped us to find a new value orientation.
What is the mental experience of sustainability and ecological orientation?
The motives turn out to be particularly tense: On the one hand, people want to demonstrate their own ecological convictions and profess their belief in a desirable, green and suffering-free world. On the other hand, the in-depth interviews that concept m conducted with respondents revealed a lack of concretisation. In many cases, the interviewees resorted to generalities, for example that the "oil industry has had its day" or that "politicians need to wake up and see what is happening to the world".
The demand for ecological action on the part of every individual is made, with a finger raised morally. The actual illustrations of how this should be done in everyday life, however, focus on a few ingrained behaviours: Separating waste, avoiding rubbish, reducing orders, cycling more. Buying regional products or second-hand fashion are also often mentioned.
Consistent adherence to ecologically or sustainably sound everyday actions turns out to be an ideal that is repeatedly broken in everyday life - in bad weather, the car is used after all, and sometimes online orders on the living room sofa are fun and relieve boredom.
The topic of ecological and sustainable action is therefore tense or fragile and can be explained with depth psychological methods. The following five findings emerge:
Conclusion: The topic of ecological, sustainable action appears highly attractive to many people at first glance, but is ambivalent in consequence. Personal reassurance can best take place when we engage in moral comparisons and settlements with other people. Then we usually do better "than the general public".
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Source: Die Welt, 12.03.2021, "'Youth' apparently ticks quite differently than 'Fridays for Future'", https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/plus227876251/Klimaschutz-Die-Jugend-tickt-offenbar-anders-als-Fridays-for-Future.html