Green living survey results

Two recent environmentally themed surveys grabbed my attention as examples of how much work is left to do in trying to make green living the norm rather than something that is a continual battle.

The first was rather unsettling – a Pew survey of 1500 Americans found only 57 percent believe there is reliable proof that the atmosphere of the Earth is warming. This is a fall of 20% in just two years. The number of people who believe human activity is causing global warming  has decreased to just 36%.

On a brighter note, the results of a survey of 3,110 adults by Harris Interactive in September found the following actions taken by respondents over the past year:

– Installed more energy-efficient lighting such as CFL or LED (63%)
– Bought energy-efficient appliances (36%)
– Started paying bills online (46%)
– Switched to paperless financial statements (40%)
– Donated electronics for recycling (41%)
– Switched from bottled to tap water (29%)
– Installed a low-flow showerhead (17%) or a low-flow toilet (16%)
– Bought a more fuel efficient car (13%)

Only 13% of those surveyed said they have not done any of these.

68% said they always or often recycle (68%) and 60% make an effort to use less water.

I’m sure those in the bottled water industry are gnashing their teeth.

However, Harris points out that few are engaging in major changes such as walking or biking to work, buying local, buying organic or car pooling.

Additionally, Harris says there is a tendency for people to give “socially desirable” answers and surveys tend therefore to overestimate the number of people doing socially desirable things.

Regardless, at least some people are doing something to lessen their environmental impact.

I’m sometimes asked that if the world is indeed going to hell, why even bother making an effort? It’s pretty simple really:

a) I feel it’s a worthy struggle – we may just turn this ship around. It’s a mighty big ship though and it means massive changes to the nature of our species needing to occur in a very short time.

b) Green living has much in common with survivalism as there is a strong focus being resourceful and making do with less. If the poo does hit the proverbial, folks who have been consciously reducing their consumption, repurposing items and finding new ways to do things using less will find the transition to that sort of world far less traumatic.

In the words of someone much wiser than I (and I don’t know who to attribute this quote to):

“Hope for the best while preparing for the worst”