11/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Where Is the Beef in Climate Solutions?

Buried in 'Helping Green Products Grow', a recent McKinsey study on green marketing, are some rather startling data on the state of citizens' knowledge, regarding the most effective approaches to global warming reduction:


Taking these numbers into account, bloggers, journalists, environmental organizations, teachers, and all involved in educating the public on global warming solutions, need to reevaluate their message. Eating less beef, improving home insulation, and driving less and more efficient vehicles, are getting short-changed, and should become the focus of targeted communication efforts.

I can imagine a four-pronged national advertising campaign focusing on each of these behavioral changes. The good news is these are simple actions people can understand. They also happen to result in great personal benefits as well. Less beef is healthier, and also easier on the pocketbook. Better home insulation quickly pays for itself, and results in substantial savings from reduced energy consumption. Driving less is also better for one's health. And driving a more fuel-efficient car could become another source of savings.

Of course, advertising alone will not work. New policies need to be put in place as well. Not giving into lobbyists from the beef industry, and favoring instead better food alternatives such as chicken or fish, or vegetarian choices. Launching green collar job initiatives to assist home owners with insulating their homes. Giving subsidies to citizens who want to buy fuel efficient cars. And expanding the public transportation system.

Notice how all four recommendations could be implemented at once. There is no need to wait for miracle technologies. All that's needed is the goodwill from the citizens, and from policy makers.