Americans may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but they’re determined to lead a "green" New Year.
Just under half — 49% — of all American adults say they will make a green New Year’s resolution this year, according to the results of a poll released here today by Tiller, LLC, one of the nation’s leading consultancies on the design and implementation of advocacy marketing programs.
The telephone survey of 1,004 adults was conducted between December 7 and December 9, 2007 by the national polling firm of GfK Roper. All respondents were at least 18 years of age. The margin of error for the 1,004 interviews is +/-3.0%.
"When it comes to life choices, green is clearly a primary color. Americans are viewing the environmental impact of their actions with increased responsibility and deliberation," said Rob Densen, Founder and CEO of Tiller, LLC. "New Year’s resolutions being what they are, let’s hope that Americans are more successful at reducing waste and energy consumption than we are at reducing our waistlines."
Watching Our Waste in 2008
Given a list of environmentally responsible lifestyle changes, reducing household energy usage was cited as the most likely to be undertaken in 2008, cited by 75% of respondents. It was followed by recycling more (74%) and reducing the use of harmful household chemicals (66%). Carrying fabric bags to the supermarket (42%) and reducing one’s "carbon footprint" (43%) were the least frequently cited.
The survey found that, in general, the more involved or personally demanding an environmental responsibility, the lower the response.
"Our desire for easy solutions relates to something we found in a survey we conducted on ‘good works’ at this time last year," said Tiller principal Traci Ayer.
"Nine in 10 Americans say it’s important to take actions in their personal lives (recycling, giving blood, conserving energy, etc.) to address social issues, but not nearly as many are actually doing so. We want to help, but between family and work, we’re stretched thin. The easier we can make it for individuals to act on their good intentions, the better. There’s a lesson in that for businesses looking to leverage the growing green sensibility."
Densen said that when it comes to good works, the environment is a good place to start. "You may not have the time to coach Little League, mentor a young person, or volunteer at a soup kitchen, but everyone has the time to flip off a light switch or deposit a bottle in a recycling bin. The cumulative effects of millions of individual actions can be transformational."
Young People More Focused on the Environment
The survey found that younger respondents were generally more focused on the environment than older Americans.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans 18 to 24 said they would make a green New Year’s resolution for 2008. That compares with 50% of Americans 50 to 64 and 40% of Americans 65+.
"There are, of course, shades of green. Younger respondents tend to be more environmentally focused than older ones," Densen said. "We think that may be because they’ve grown up with heightened awareness of the environment and greater public discourse. Obviously, young people have a large stake in issues like climate change and sustainability of resources."
Green with Guilt?
Of those surveyed, 31% admitted to feeling guilty in recent years about not living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Women (36%) are more likely than men (26%) to feel "green guilt."
"Americans are leading ‘greener’ lifestyles, and those who aren’t feel badly about it," Densen said. "Guilt is not going to save the environment, but at least it’s a step in the right direction."
New York City-based Tiller, LLC is one of the nation’s leading consultancies in the creation and implementation of advocacy marketing programs for major U.S. corporations. For a checklist of 10 things you can do now to help the environment, please go to the Tiller website: www.tillerllc.com.
GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media is a division of GfK Custom Research North America. The division specializes in customized public opinion polling, issues management and corporate reputation measurement — in the US and globally.
Tiller’s Top 10 Tips for Helping the Environment*
There are lots of things you can do to help save the planet. Here are 10 of our favorite ideas, gleaned from a variety of reliable sources. Some of these are new ideas, some are old standbys, but all are easy to put in place.
- Use smart power strips for things like computers and home
entertainment centers to prevent them from drawing current while idle.
Along the same lines (no pun intended), unplug the chargers for your
cell-phone, iPod and wireless handhelds when not in use.
- Select the green power option from your local utility company. And if
they don’t offer it, call, write or e-mail them to request it.
- Shower but keep them short. According to the EPA, every five minutes
of shower time uses 10 to 25 gallons of water and a full tub requires
- Remove yourself from junk mail lists. Save one tree for each year you
say no to junk mail. www.greendimes.com or www.41pounds.org can help.
And to save more trees, remember to print on both sides of the paper.
- 5. Go fluorescent. Replace your regular light bulbs with compact
fluorescent lamps/light bulbs (CFLs) and you will use 66% less energy.
According to Vanity Fair, if every household replaced just one regular
light bulb with a CFL, pollution-wise, it would be like taking one
million cars off the road. But please note: because CFLs contain small
amounts of mercury, it is important to dispose of them in an
environmentally responsible manner.
- Use a reusable water bottle rather than disposable water bottles.
- Stop rinsing your dishes before sticking them in the dishwasher. It
doesn’t help and skipping the pre-wash can save up to 10 gallons of
water per dish load. And while we’re on the subject, only run your
dishwasher when it’s full.
- Many homes are accidental sources of water pollutants, because harmful
substances like lawn and garden chemicals, outdoor cleaning products,
and even pet waste wash off your property and into local waterways.
Use all household chemicals sparingly, and dispose of all other
potential pollutants properly.
- When it comes to gift giving, send a card at www.treegreetings.com and
a tree will be planted on behalf of the recipient or send a green
starter kit from www.greensender.com.
- Spread the word — use environmentally-conscious e-mail signatures
with helpful hints/reminders to think long and hard before printing
*With special thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Vanity Fair, The Green Team, and our friends at www.greensender.com.