The red band tells it all: it is the percentage of those who say that they "believe the action is important, but do not currently engage in it." The blue band represents those who "believe the action is important and currently engage in it. The Greys believe the action is unimportant and don't do it. These are the results of a telephone study by Edward Maibach and Connie Roser-Renouf of George Mason University and Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale University Project on Climate Change.
The Study, Americans' Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming. January 2010 also tells us that not only are we hypocrites but we are going backward; when asked, "In the coming year, do you intend to do this less often, the same or more often?" In most cases where there is a comparison to 2008, the answer is that fewer people care.
This survey comes on the heels of their previous report that Matt covered in Americans Support Strong Climate & Energy Policy: Yale Poll
Study author Anthony Leiserowitz has an explanation:
"There are many possible explanations for the gap between people's attitudes and their actual behavior," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. "For example, public transportation may not be locally available or convenient. Overcoming barriers such as these will make it much easier for people to act in ways consistent with their values."
I wish that were true; but when you look at even on the simplest of things like using a reusable shopping bag, 48% of us know it is the right thing to do but don't do it. That's not an issue of access, like his example of public transit. That is human nature.