Will the Majority of People Be Able to Afford Going Green Research Proposal

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¶ … people be able to afford going green?

Overall Research

The increasing environmental concerns brought on by carbon emissions and other pollutants from human activities have led to a greater consumer awareness of and demand for sustainable products. "Going green," as moving towards products and modes of life that are more sustainable and less environmentally damaging, can present significant cost savings in the long-term to the efficiency and availability of renewable resources. At the same time the adoption of sustainable technologies and the switch to sustainable products can be dissuading to many. A more detailed analysis of the cost of growing green and the amount of the average American household's budget that could be made available for this purpose will determine if most households can truly afford sustainability.

Background of the Problem

The cost of switching to green alternatives for energy production and in materials used in consumer products can be quite costly. Research has shown that despite a potential for more cost effective technologies, investing in solar energy for homes and small businesses is still a long way off from making sense to the average consumer (Lewis, 2007). Some have even gone so far as to call sustainability in general a false hope, as the economic barriers to true sustainability are simply too great (Kremer & Miguel, 2007). The proposed research will help to determine the truth of these beliefs and the true affordability of sustainability.

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Research Proposal on Will the Majority of People Be Able to Afford Going Green Assignment

The problem that the proposed research will address is the issue of a lack of an accurate understanding of the costs associated with "going green" and adopting sustainable technologies and products. Estimates of up front cost increases and expected long-term cost savings, if any, differ greatly from analyst to analyst even within the same narrow topic within the broader framework of sustainability. Cost and benefit estimates for a transition to biofuels rather than petroleum-based fuels are so disparate that while some researchers predict near immediate savings, others see no economic or even environmentally sustainability in biofuels at all (Polasky 2009; Doombosch & Steemblik, 2007). The lack of a general agreement will be a holdback to the proposed research but is also the reason for its necessity.

Purpose Statement

In determining the true costs of various elements of "going green," and comparing these costs to the current household incomes of the average American family unit, a determination as to whether or not most Americans can truly afford to go green will be made. This is the primary purpose for the proposed research, as determining the economic feasibility of sustainability would go a long way towards suggesting new methods for increasing sustainable options, choices, and lifestyles. More affordable areas of sustainability could be recommended as starting points for consumers, with recommendations to producers regarding which technologies and products need work could also be achieved.

Overall Research Questions

The research questions that will be addressed in the proposed research will fall primarily into two categories, those focused on determining the cost of sustainability, and those that are concerned with the current state of the American household's budget. The cost of adopting sustainable technology is, as noted above, considerable in up front terms, yet the long-term costs and benefits are a matter of much debate and will require intensive investigation and careful analysis. Questions of the income of the average American household and the amount that can be spent on sustainable technologies is complicated by factors such as the cost of non-sustainable resources and the indirect costs of carbon emissions (Weber & Matthews, 2007). Declines in income, on the other hand have been associated with declines in health in what can be a negative cycle, questioning the economic advisability of switching strained consumers to sustainable technologies (Woolf, 2007).

Literature Review

Economic evolution and environmental demise

Gaetan Verhoosel (1998) commences with a discussion of the evolutions which have marked the world throughout the past recent years. At an economic level, a relevant example in this sense is constituted by the increase of foreign direct investments. In light of globalization, liberalization and opening boundaries, more foreign funds have entered countries and they have supported their development. Emerging countries have as such grown at an industrial, technologic and economic level. From an environmental standpoint nevertheless, they have decreased since the increase in activities has also materialized in an increase in pollution. In light of these findings, Verhoosel calls for the development and introduction of new legislations which correlate the environmental needs with the other country specific needs.

Social and ecological resilience

A particularity of environmental friendliness in the households is constituted by the very defining features of the community in which the respective households function. In this order of ideas, W. Neil Adger at the School of Environmental Sciences and CSERGE, the University of East Anglia, believes that there exists a direct relationship between the social resistance of the members within a community, and the ecological resistance of the members within the same community. The particularities of the relationship have not yet been established, but it is argued that they are complex and belong to fields such as economic environmentalism, rural sociology or human ecology. "There is a clear link between social and ecological resilience, particularly for social groups or communities that are dependent on ecological and environmental resources for their livelihoods. But it is not clear whether resilient ecosystems enable resilient communities in such situations" (Adger, 2010).

The person-environment congruence

Paul M. Muchinsky and Carlyn J. Monahan (2004) argue that there is an important and ongoing relationship between the individual and the natural environment which surrounds him. This relationship is complex and can be divided into two specific categories -- a supplementary relationship and a complementary relationship. "Supplementary congruence is the match between an individual and a group of people who comprise an environment, such as a fraternal organization. Variables such as individual satisfaction, performance, and tenure are used as indices of fit. Supplementary congruence is the rationale behind vocational counseling decisions. Complementary congruence is the match between an individual's talents and the corresponding needs of the environment. The strengths of the individual complement the needs of the environment" (Muchinsky and Monahan, 2004).

The professors at the University of South Alabama depict the congruence between individual and environment as given by the combination of innate characteristics and modeled behavior, with the result of environmental learning:

Source: the University of South Alabama

Significance of Study

The need for resource and environmental sustainability in all areas of human endeavor is becoming ever more clear. Issues such as fossil fuels and carbon emissions receive regular attention, but the need for sustainability in other areas such as forestry and agriculture is equally essential (Pretty, 2008). This study is significant in that it will contribute to the body of knowledge regarding sustainability and its economic feasibility, leading in turn to the possibility of a more sustainable future through the adoption of more economic alternatives.

Proposed Methodology

The data utilized in this research will be obtained from a combination of qualitative research methodologies and quantitative research methodologies. At a first level, the qualitative research methodology is characterized by the observation and analysis of the element being researched. Throughout the observation processes, the researcher strives to comprehend the complexities of the studied phenomenon and to form solid conclusions.

The main limitation of the qualitative research is that it integrates the elements of bias. To better explain, each component element of the studied phenomenon is subjected to the personal interpretation of the researcher. The result is that of a limited understanding of the studied phenomenon, strictly pegged to the personal understanding, interpretation and presentation of the findings through the lenses of the researcher's personal judgment. The final result is that the findings which are retrieved through qualitative research cannot be generalized to explain the behavior of all elements in the studied phenomenon, nor explain the totality of similar phenomena.

At the level of the current research endeavor, the qualitative research would be constituted by the analysis of the available literature. In other words, the first step in answering the research questions would be that of assessing the specialized literature, in the form of the primary data collected, organized, and analyzed by other authors. The specific methodology employed will be a literature review; with certain quantitative analyses performed by researchers after having the date combined and classified through the literature review process. While engaging in more direct primary research would be preferable in coming to a determination in the areas of research identified here, especially given the high level of disagreement that exists in regards to the costs of sustainability, such research would be impractical due not only to the financial and time barriers, but also due to the complete necessary required primary data, which involved cost measures in many industries as well as an analysis of average household incomes.

Nevertheless, this study would also be relying on the usage of quantitative research. Unlike the qualitative research methodology, quantitative research has the benefit of leading… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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