Sunday, October 18, 2009

Poll: Americans Getting Greener, But Still Have a Long Way to Go

Here are some numbers from yet another poll indicating that Americans are getting greener:

A sampling of results, with the percentage reflecting people who said they "always" or "often" did this activity in the last year:

  • Turned off lights when leaving a room: 83 percent.
  • Recycled: 68 percent.
  • Installed more energy-efficient light bulbs: 63 percent.
  • Made an effort to use less water: 60 percent.
  • Started paying bills online: 46 percent.
  • Donated an electronic device for recycling: 41 percent.
  • Switched to paperless financial statements: 40 percent.
  • Purchased locally grown produce: 39 percent.
  • Purchased energy-efficient appliances: 36 percent.
  • Switched from bottled to tap water 29 percent.
  • Purchased locally manufactured products: 26 percent.
  • Purchased used as opposed to new products: 25 percent.
  • Installed a low-flow showerhead: 17 percent.
  • Made compost: 17 percent.
  • Purchased organic products: 17 percent.
  • Carpooled or used public transport: 16 percent.
  • Bought a more fuel efficient car: 13 percent.
  • Bought hybrid cars: 2 percent.

Only 13 percent of the respondents said they did none of the green activities that Harris asked about. On the flip side, only 13 percent said the phrase "I am green" described them "completely" or "very well."

The numbers could be overstated, Harris warned, because people tend to give "socially desirable" answers.

I know I'm always shocked when I visit some of my supposedly conscious friends' homes and find that they still haven't taken the simple step of replacing easily-replaceable incandescent bulbs with CFL's or LED's.  A fortunately decreasing number of my peers produce as much trash in a day as my wife and I produce in a week -- it's amazing how wasteful too many people still are, though things seem to be getting better.  On the bright side, I'm both impressed and thrilled when I get to check out cool green features like backyard gardens (as an avid gardener, I love to talk shop on the subject).

How can YOU help?  Behavior change studies indicate that the more we change our habits, and the more our peers see us changing them (e.g., I not only blog, but also FaceBook and Tweet about my sustainable behaviors), the likely our peers are to change theirs...

Read The Oregonian's full take on the poll>>

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