23 'Helpful' Actions That Actually Make Things Worse

We all want to do what's good for the planet, and good for society as a whole. And that's admirable. The thing is, sometimes the thing we're doing isn't actually helpful. Or it even makes things worse.

For example:

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Want to reach people? Persuade them online. Or stand on your roof and shout. Arguing online never convinces anyone. Studies have shown that it has the

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If you want to kill germs, you use antibacterial soap. Spasoap Liquid Soap Antibacterial But using it leads to stronger germs. Antibacterial and antim

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What could be better for a cause than an awareness campaign? Pretty much anything, it turns out. Sure, awareness campaigns are great ... if they're fo

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Need some chill? Break out the affirmations. ony yes is yes But they're going to make you feel worse. Studies have shown that affirmations make people

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We tried teaching schoolkids to Just Say No to drugs. TARE TO RESIST DRUGS It made them more likely to use drugs. Two separate studies found that at

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Charity concerts for third-world countries are super-helpful. NOW Except when they aren't. Wyclef Jean collected $15 million for Haiti, then spent ove

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Hybrid cars are fuel-efficient and better for the environment. Except for the drivers. Putting aside the environmental damage caused by the manufactur

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If we don't recycle, we're gonna wind up like the planet in Wall-E. Or maybe not. Scientists have calculated that at current rates, all the garbage in

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Some parents think vaccines are unhealthy for their kids. Not only is that wrong, it's dangerous. Despite what the internet says, there's no connectio

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In 2005, England launched the Beat Bullying campaign. BULLYINC BEAT And a bunch of kids got bullied. The problem was, the bright blue Beat Bullying wr

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You might be tempted to send supplies when there's a disaster. Emergency workers call that the second disaster. After Sandy Hook, donors sent upward

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You might be tempted to pick a charity that has low overhead. Not SO fast. A certain amount of spending is necessary for a charity to succeed. In fact

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Buying organic food sounds healthy and good for the planet. Surprisingly, it isn't. There no evidence that organically grown produce is better for you

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What could be healthier and more natural than bamboo clothing? A lot of things, it turns out. In order to turn them into textiles, bamboo materials fi

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Your optician probably asks you to donate your old glasses. Doing SO is useless, at best. As stupidly expensive as glasses are, it's still cheaper to

9

Instead of a vacation, you should go help out in a third-world country. That is, if you want to do some damage. Squads of well-intended tourists build

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Worried about landfills? Buy some green disposable diapers. pure & natural organic cotton coton bio algodon organico hypoallergenic/hypoallergenique

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If you buy local, you'll save the energy wasted on transporting food. But growing food is much more wasteful. Shoppers expect to enjoy the same foods

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When you donate, you can earmark your money for a cause. T ocesie EDTS rofny But you really shouldn't. Charity funding tends to be a lot like high sch

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You might feel the urge to donate blood after an emergency. But that leads to shortages later. Donated blood only lasts for 42 days, and donors feel t

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Want to feel better about your gasoline footprint? Try biofuel. Hope you're not a fan of the planet. 90% of biofuel is made with corn ethanol. Growing

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After an oil spill, volunteers scramble to wash oil off birds. Those volunteers do more harm than good. Inexperienced cleanup crews often scare endang

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Want to save the planet? Use reusable grocery bags. Be prepared to use them a lot. They take 28 to 200 times as much energy to produce as disposable b

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It's not just consumers whose helpful actions backfire. Sometimes it's states. Or whole countries. Georgia's bounty on boars caused the boar populatio

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