Monday, April 23, 2012

Americans are Less Green this Earth Day

A green attitude poll suggests that Americans are actually less green this Earth Day. As reported in a recent Time Moneyland article, over the past few years, Americans have become less likely to say they care a great deal about the current and future state of the environment. Similarly, there is less interest in organics, water conservation, and waste.
The results of a new Harris Poll indicate that interest in the environment is in decline in the US. These “green attitude” polls have been conducted annually since 2009 and this year's results are the worst yet.

In 2009, 30 percent of Americans described themselves as “environmentally-conscious,” and 36 percent said they “care a great deal about the current state, and future, of the environment.” In 2012, those numbers declined to 27 percent and 31 percent respectively. Further, there has been an almost 10 percent decrease in the number of Americans who said they were concerned about the planet they’re leaving behind for future generations (43 percent in 2009 and 34 in 2012).

Environmentally conscious consumer behavior seems also seems to have gone south. Americans are now saying that they’re less likely to:
  • Reuse things they have instead of throwing them away or buying new items (65% 2009 vs. 61% 2012);
  • Make an effort to use less water (60% 2009 vs. 57% 2010 and 2012);
  • Buy food in bulk (33% 2009 vs. 30% 2012);
  • Purchase all-natural products (18% 2009 vs. 16% 2012); and,
  • Purchase organic products (17% 2009 vs. 15% 2010 and 2012).
It would appear that individuals are more likely to help Mother Nature "when the efforts also help himself." This point is made in another Earth Day-related survey, which indicates that 75 percent of those polled say that they have saved money through greater efficiency. This study has implications for the greening of the Earth. If we are to be successful in transitioning to a greener economy, at this stage, incentives to do so are key.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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