Americans Are Greener Than We Think

Americans Are Greener Than We Think
Mahatma Ghandi once said you must be the change you want to see in the world, so I ask you reader:

Are you really concerned about the planet? Do you really try to live green? Does the impact on the environment have an impact on your choices as a consumer?

It is questions like these that were presented to participants in a new study conducted on “green” attitudes and actions by Insight Research Group in partnership with HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council). The study found that we Americans are a lot greener than we think! I find this amazing and very encouraging.

The research found that more than 84 percent of respondents believe “it is a moral obligation” to care for the environment and 86 percent already participate in at least one green activity such as conserving energy at home, recycling, driving a fuel efficient car, buying recycled products or picking up litter.

Surprisingly to me the study also found one of the main reasons people are hesitant to go green maybe for political issues and not economical ones. I always hear people say going “green” means it’s going to cost more “green”. Instead the research showed that most respondents feared being associated as radical in their political or environmental viewpoints as the main barrier to their green involvement. This is understandable especially in today’s political climate with a presidential election looming. We have always been a country divided by blue and red with a few shades of purple. I have even met some who confuse being green with the actual Green Party of the USA, although they do have an environmental agenda this is not the same. Nonetheless, being green is considered more of a blue matter instead of red one, yet the good news is 81 percent said the current focus on environmental issues is here to stay and not a passing fad.

Just to play devil’s advocate for a nanosecond, at the same time I received the information on this study I also had in my mailbox a story on how the biggest polluters with the largest carbon footprint are the eco-warriors! The daily newsletter I receive from had reprinted a story from Times of India, who had sourced their story from London. Their survey found “eco-adopters” as they were called, purchased eco-friendly products and belonged to environmental organizations yet are still hooked on their cars and taking international flights (research conducted by Target Group Index). I am assuming the 25,000 participants were British since the end of the article from London stated the findings were similar in France and the US!

I think the point is despite where you fall on the green spectrum at least we have all become very well aware of our impact on the planet and how our choices shape the future. “People are coming to realize that the environment isn’t just a place you go visit. It’s in our homes, under the sink and on the dinner plate. It’s in the choices we all make every day,” said Alex Kennaugh, director of marketing, NRDC. “That means they have the power in their own hands to make help it better. One step leads to the next, and pretty soon you’re making a real difference in your life. There is a tremendous appetite for simple steps and meaningful action. But the hard part is separating out the help from the hype.”

The outcome of all this research has lead to a new campaign called Change the World Start at Home (sm). HGTV and the NRDC have partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Rebuilding Together to help consumers identify green practices that can easily be adapted into their daily lives. A great way to get involved is to volunteer in a city near you that was voted on by the public as a community in need: Baltimore, Twin Cities, Denver, Washington D.C., and New Orleans. I can speak from 12 years of personal experience as a board member and construction captain, Rebuilding Together is a wonderful opportunity to meet like minded people while making a difference!

The market is inundated with so much green information it’s no surprise the study showed many people couldn’t tell fact from fiction on green related issues. Change the World Start at Home(sm) hopes to filter out the hype and leave only what’s meaningful, because we have to start somewhere and why not at home!

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