"Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea."
To be honest none of this surprises me. However, to paraphrase a very old commercial, its not nice to mess with Mother Nature but when you do expect one bitching payback when she has had enough.
Americans Least Green-And Feel Least Guilt
Americans are the the least likely to suffer from "green guilt" about their environmental impact, despite trailing the rest of the world in sustainable behavior, according to a new National Geographic survey.
Thisyear Americans ranked last in sustainable behavior, as they have every yearsince 2008. Just 21 percent of Americans reported feeling guilty about theimpact they have on the environment, among the lowest of those surveyed. Yet they had the most faith in an individual's ability to protect the environment, at 47 percent.
"Despite their relatively light footprints as consumers, there seems to have been some internalization and a sensitization to environmental issues in places like China, India, and Brazil," he added.
"There's a more widespread sense that environmental issues are affecting people's health in those countries. Concern is higher about things like water and air pollution, and there's also a real sensitivity to global warming." Nicole Darnell, a researcher at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU), called the association between guilt and Greendex scores "intriguing."
"In Phoenix and most other U.S. cities, you're often taking your life in your own hands when you get on a bicycle," she said.
One common trend revealed by the survey is that many consumers find it difficult to justify the price premium often associated with environmentally friendly products. Russians, Brazilians, Americans, and Indians were the most likely to respond that the extra cost does not justify the value. Part of the problem is that in the U.S. and many countries, there is a lack of good information and trusted sources regarding green products that consumers can turn to, said Thomas Dean, of Colorado State University's College of Business, who did not participate in the survey.
ASU's Darnall agreed. "How do we know that one product is greener than another? Right now, in our current marketplace, we can't," Darnall said. "This is one area where the government can step in and play a stronger leadership role." Dean thinks setting up a third-party certification system for green products like the one that exists for organic foods would be helpful.
"In the United States we know a food is organic because there's a certification process in place that is set out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to define what organic foods are," he said. "And that results in a label that is considered legitimate by consumers."
"It's not a surprise that consumers believed they were environmentally responsible," she said. "Consumers want to respond in a socially desirable way, and there is a lot of research that suggests they're not going to respond very honestly about their less socially acceptable behaviors."
GlobeScan's Whan said he hopes the Greendex survey will make people take a closer look at their own consumption patterns and their effects on the environment. "The first step is to be aware," he said. "Wehope that the Greendex helps people keep in mind the implications of not onlythe choices they make as consumers but also how much they consume."