by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Here’s a news flash: Kids are happy to annoy their parents for free.
The National Science Foundation is spending roughly $1 million to study ways to use children as a means to get their parents to use less energy.
The Oregon State University study seeks to change “hearts and minds,” and deploys Girl Scout troops in an array of interventions aimed at “behavioral modifications.”
“Explanations of widespread disengagement with energy use often rest on the belief that energy behavior is rooted in individuals’ concerns about the environment and/or costs of energy,” the grant for the project states. “Missed in these explanations is the need to understand and address sociological and psychological factors in energy behavior. This project employs a series of energy use interventions in the community of Fremont, California, engaging children, youth and their families in this community.”
The researchers are using energy metering technology and smart devices and apps to track energy use of participants. …
… The study, which began last fall, has received $999,951 in taxpayer funding so far. Research will continue through August 2020.
Each intervention will be “child and youth-focused,” including using Girl Scout troops to encourage their families to use appliances less, and a high school competition to “encourage widespread energy engagement and savings.”