Does DYI make us greener?

Cooking your own food makes you more aware of where it comes from and feel more connected to the animals and the land that provides it.  So does it follow that making things yourself, even just putting together an IKEA bookcase, make you more connected to your stuff??  According to an article in the Journal of Consumer Psychology by social scientists from Harvard, Tulane and Duke, it can.  They call it the IKEA effect.

Here’s the abstract:

In four studies in which consumers assembled IKEA boxes, folded origami,and built sets of Legos, we demonstrate and investigate boundary conditions for the IKEA effect—the increase in valuation of self-made products. Participants saw their amateurish creations as similar in value to experts’ creations, and expected others to share their opinions. We show that labor leads to love only when labor results in successful completion of tasks; when participants built and then destroyed their creations, or failed to complete them, the IKEA effect dissipated. Finally, we show that labor increases valuation for both “do-it-yourselfers” and novices.

The take away?  In a consumer society where mostly we pay people to do and make things for us, no wonder it’s so easy to throw things away.  With no sweat equity, it’s no sweat to throw stuff out.

To The Source:

BoingBoing, Testing “the Ikea effect” – why do we value things we assemble more highly than premades?

Journal of Consumer Psychology, The IKEA effect: When Labor Leads to Love


SBLP Staff Favorites | Sustainable Business Leader Program

SBLP Staff Favorites

Submitted by SBLP on Thu, 09/01/2011 – 11:34am

by Scott Wood, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston

Wanting to better understanding the motivations and drivers of my SBLP colleagues, I recently polled our staff and interns on what some of their favorite books and documentaries are that are relevant to the field of sustainability. (Okay, maybe I was just looking for a new book to read…) Regardless of my own intentions, here’s what I found.

Books & Guides:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

Eaarth by Bill McKibben

The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schloser

Fostering Sustainable Behavior by Doug McKenzie-Mohr & William Smith

Global Warming Reader, Edited by Bill McKibben

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones

Green to Gold by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston

Hot, Flat, & Crowded by Thomas Friedman

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard

Natural Capital and Human Economic Survival by Thomas Prugh

The Necessary Revolution: Working Together to Create a Sustainable World by Peter Senge

Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Power of Sustainable Thinking by Bob Doppelt

The Psychology of Climate Change Communication by Debika Shome and Sabine Marx

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath

We encourage you to purchase any of these, or other, books from your favorite local, independent bookshop. Can’t think of any? Try one of our SBLP graduates or participants such as Harvard Book Store or Brookline Booksmith.

via SBLP Staff Favorites | Sustainable Business Leader Program.