There is a schism in the legal scholarship between scholars who argue that value, norm, and information campaigns can induce pro-environmental behavior and those who contend that structural, psychological, and social forces sharply constrain behavior change. Both sides of this debate have neglected the critical and ever-increasing role of technology in addressing residential pollution. The example of electricity "smart grids" illustrates how technology engineered to override cognitive and behavioral limitations can comprehensively reduce household consumption and emissions. Electricity conservation suffers from multiple barriers to collective action, including large numbers of geographically dispersed polluters, low financial payoffs, and, the contribution of this Essay, the high behavioral demands of reducing consumption. By bringing into sharper analytical focus what is likely to be effective in households, smart grid enhances our understanding of the psychology of individual behavior and underscores the importance of technology to environmental behavior change.
Stephanie M. Stern,
Smart-Grid: Technology and the Psychology of Environmental Behavior Change,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol86/iss1/7