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A new nationwide survey by Tiller Research LLC has found good green news for the new year. Over half of the American population will likely make an environmentally-focused New Year's resolution. The survey found that 53% of respondents are vowing to put the planet first in at least one way - that's up from 49% just two years ago. The resolutions being taken are great, but we have three that are just as easy, and make a far bigger impact than those listed in the survey. "Like a commitment to dieting, adopting more environmentally friendly living habits has become a primary focus for New Year's resolutions," said Rob Densen, CEO of Tiller, LLC. "It's clear that safeguarding the environment has become top of mind for many Americans - the hanging question is the degree to which we actually put these good intentions to work. Let's hope we have more success counting carbons than we have counting carbs."
The main ways respondents were looking to make changes were:
85% said it was at least somewhat likely they would reduce household energy consumption in 2010.
84% said they'd recycle more
76% said they'd buy from environmentally responsible companies
72% said they were at least somewhat likely they'll carry their own bag with them to the grocery store (If that sounds a little low, note that just 42% of Americans resolved to do this two years ago.)
All of these numbers show that green ideas are spreading and becoming part of the collective mindset. The respondents showed that already, many of the easier green actions are already part of daily life, with 76% moderating their household energy use during the last year, and 50% already declining to buy particular products out of concern for the environment.
TreeHugger Readers Commit To Green Resolutions Too
You all sent in some great Tweets about what resolutions you're taking. They include such important moves as eating more locally grown food, riding a bike more often even when it's cold outside, and connecting people with local green organizations.
Check them out in our Slideshow and use them as inspiration for your own green resolutions.
But read below for three resolutions you can make that take the biggest bite out of your carbon footprint.
Women Vs Men In Green Resolutions
Of course, the survey showed a difference between the sexes - fodder for a good debate about the roles each play in moving towards a more sustainable culture. For example, 52% of women versus 33% of men were more likely to recycle more, and 51% of women versus 30% of men were more likely to bring their own bag to the store. The margin closes a little when it comes to household energy use, with 48% of women saying they're more likely to consume less, versus 32% of men.
More than nine of 10 Americans also agree that "doing small things on a regular basis that make the world a better place is just as important as participating in a formal, organized effort," says the survey, which means that these little New Year's resolutions - as baby steps as they may seem - do make a difference.
"There's no question that individuals are committed to environmentally responsible behavior in their daily lives," Marren said. "But there's plenty business, government and the media can do to strengthen Americans' resolve to 'go green.' It's particularly critical to educate the public about the big impact that small, relatively easy green behaviors can have over time and to encourage and facilitate those behaviors along the way."
Small Steps Are Great, But These Big Steps Are Better
Meanwhile, we have some resolutions you can make that are guaranteed to massively reduce your impact on the planet.
1) Take fewer cross-country flights this year (even cutting back by one can cut your footprint by as much as 4 tons)
2) Go vegetarian (Even Meatless Monday or Weekday Vegetarian makes a big difference)
3) Buy green power
Those three simple resolutions can cut your carbon footprint by as much as half. And when Americans have an average per capita carbon footprint of 20 tons per year while the sustainable level is 2 tons, then those resolutions really mean something.