Gallup’s annual Environment poll of 1,012 US adults, aged 18 and older has found 28% of Americans reporting “major changes” to make their lifestyles more green and 55% have made “minor changes.”
Some of the specific changes people made:
Recycle/recycle more: 39%
Drive less/ carpool: 17%
Buying biodgredable products: 14%
Conserving energy: 10%
Using more green products: 7%
Using energy saving lightbulbs: 7%
I found the figures encouraging, but Gallup states the environment ranks only halfway is a list of problems facing the country Americans are concerned about. Furthermore, Gallup states interest in environmental issues drops when the economy is doing it tough and therefore an increase in environmentally friendly living does not seem very likely in the forseeable future.
I find this rather gloomy forecast a little odd; it seems that everywhere I turn it’s green this and green that these days; but I guess whatever you focus on expands in your awareness.
The other important point that folks need to know about green living is that it doesn’t have to cost more. It can save money – a ton of cash. For instance, I’m out on my chunk ‘o dirt at the moment, writing this courtesy of solar energy. It’s my first trip out here with the solar rig and I’ve not had to fire up my generator once. In the last week, I’ve saved about 2.5 gallons in fuel.
According to the EPA, the gasoline carbon content per gallon is 2,421 grams – about 5 pounds. While I’ve saved around 12.5 pounds of carbon emissions in a week (not to mention other pollutants and the darned noise), I’ve also saved around 15 bucks on gas. The solar panel would pay itself off in just over a year if I was up here full time – and it has a 25 year lifespan.
Even around the home, going green can save money – whether it’s using cheap items such as baking soda; lemon or vinegar for cleaning, switching to CFL’s for lighting, or turning off appliances at the powerpoint to reduce phantom load; these things all save money. Going green is about making informed choices and reducing consumption and reducing consumption cuts costs.
.. and I think that’s the key in a shakey economy – sure, the environment may be going to hell before our very eyes, but perhaps people are becoming desensitized to news of the catastrophe we’re in the midst of while they struggle to meet day-to-day expenses.
If we can raise awareness of how much money folks can save through making a few environmentally-friendly changes, the ranks of the green brigade will build a lot faster. I’ve written a little more on this topic in my Recession Buster article.