12 January 2011

Harris Poll shows green movement slowing in U.S., except with LGBT adults

Many people like to believe the green movement is nothing more than a fad—especially those of a particular political persuasion— or a marketing ploy set in motion by clever, money hungry corporations hell bent on nothing more than padding their bottom lines. If you are one of those people then the results from a recent Harris Poll will give you quite the thrill.

The survey, which questioned 2,352 U.S. adults ages 18 and over, found less Americans decided to go green in 2010 when compared to 2009. Well except for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) adults who actually have increased their commitment to the environment.

Apparently all of that talk of saving the planet is too exhausting for some.

According to the poll “adults in America are now less likely to engage in various green behaviors in their daily life, including”:

  • Making an effort to use less water (60% 2009 vs. 57% 2010);
  • Purchasing locally grown produce (39% 2009 vs. 33% 2010);
  • Purchasing locally manufactured products (26% 2009 vs. 23% 2010);
  • Purchasing organic products (17% 2009 vs. 15% 2010); and,
  • Composting food and organic waste (17% 2009 vs. 15% 2010)

And, U.S. adults are also less likely to have adopted certain environmental activities in the past year, including:
  • Purchased Energy Star appliances (36% 2009 vs. 30% 2010);
  • Donated or recycled electronics (41% 2009 vs. 32% 2010);
  • Switched from bottled to tap water (29% 2009 vs. 23% 2010);
  • Installed a low-flow showerhead or toilet (25% 2009 vs. 20% 2010); and,
  • Purchased a hybrid or more fuel-efficient car (13% 2009 vs. 8% 2010)

Even though many of those 2010 numbers are not significantly lower than the 2009 results (some are), still it is a downward movement.

Even more disheartening than the above revelations is the following result from the poll:

Not only are fewer Americans behaving in environmentally-friendly ways, but many are now also less likely to embrace, or be influenced by, "green" attitudes – just over 1 in 3 U.S. adults (36%) say they are concerned about the planet they are leaving behind for future generations, compared to more than 2 in 5 adults (43%) who said so in 2009.

It’s almost surreal to believe only 36% of U.S. adults care about the future of the planet their children and children’s children have to contend with.

Let’s hope that viewpoint is truly only a fad.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/tamthi