image: environmental leader
In a study conducted by the Shelton Group, the environment ranked 4 out of the 6 top things American consumers' top concerns.
Drawing from 1,007 consumers who "at least occasionally buy green products," the survey sought to confirm or debunk the existence of the "Green Consumer", i.e. a consumer who is primarily concerned with the ecological impact of his or her purchases. According to a Shelton Group press release, the environment's toehold on the American consumer's psyche is a shaky one.
Give it a few years—that'll surely change.Here are some of the survey's other findings:
- 73% of those surveyed responded "to reduce my bills/control costs" as their primary reason for reducing energy consumption. Only 26% chose "to lessen my impact on the environment."
- 49% responded that CO2 "depletes the ozone layer."
- Only 20% of respondents with children said their kids encouraged them to be greener—promoting recycling and turning off lights, for example.
The survey seems to attest to American solipsism, ignorance and failure to fathom the magnitude of our environmental woes. Things like the economy and the healthcare system—the number 1 and 2 concerns, respectively—are personal and immediate in their consequences. The environment, while no slouch in terms of consequences, is still dismissible as an immediate concern for most people in the developed world.
Perhaps the most telling statistic was how the education system ranked last (4.4%), behind immigration, as to what respondents are most concerned with. Maybe if the respondents were more concerned with education, they would be more concerned with the environment.