Fewer Americans Go Green

harris-environmental-labels-jan-2011.JPGAmerican adults overall are now less likely than they were in the summer of 2009 to hold certain “green” attitudes and engage in various environmentally-friendly activities, according to results of a recent Harris Poll. For example, just more than one in in three U.S. adults (36%) say they are concerned about the planet they are leaving behind for future generations, compared to more than two in five adults (43%) who said so in 2009.

In addition, there have been smaller decreases in the percentages of Americans who say they personally care a great deal about the current state and future of the environment, are environmentally conscious, and encourage others to be environmentally friendly, while the percentage feeling a personal responsibility to care for the environment has remained flat (29%).

Interestingly, despite the aforementioned declines in Americans’ attitudes and actions concerning environmental issues, US adults are now more likely to describe themselves as conservationist (20% 2010 compared to 17% 2009), “green” (18% 2010 compared to 13% 2009), and environmentalist (16% 2010 compared to 13% 2009) than they were previously.

Green Behaviors Drop in Frequency

harris-environment-green-behaviors-jan-2011.JPGAdults in America are now less likely to engage in various green behaviors in their daily life, including:

  • Making an effort to use less water (60% 2009 compared to 57% 2010);
  • Purchasing locally grown produce (39% 2009 compared to. 33% 2010);
  • Purchasing locally manufactured products (26% 2009 compared to 23% 2010);
  • Purchasing organic products (17% 2009 compared to. 15% 2010); and,
  • Composting food and organic waste (17% 2009 compared to 15% 2010).

Environmental Adoption also Declines

harris-environmental-activities-jan-2011.JPGUS adults are also less likely to have adopted certain environmental activities in the past year, including:

  • Purchased Energy Star appliances (36% 2009 compared to. 30% 2010);
  • Donated or recycled electronics (41% 2009 compared to. 32% 2010);
  • Switched from bottled to tap water (29% 2009 vs. 23% 2010);
  • Installed a low-flow showerhead or toilet (25% 2009 vs. 20% 2010); and,
  • Purchased a hybrid or more fuel-efficient car (13% 2009 vs. 8% 2010).

LGBT Adults Show More Environmental Concern

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) adults, especially, express personal commitment to pro-environmental issues, according to other survey results. A majority (55%) of all LGBT adults, when asked if they “personally care a great deal about the current state and future of the environment,” say this statement describes themselves completely or very well – a description that characterizes just one-third (33%) of heterosexual American adults and 36% of overall American adults.

And when all are asked if they “encourage others to be more environmentally friendly,” four out of 10 (40%) LGBT adults say that statement also describes them completely or very well, while only twenty-four percent (24%) of heterosexual adults and 34% of overall adults concur.

Even in the area where LGBT and heterosexual positive response rates are closest, describing yourself as a conservationist, there is still a substantial eight-percentage-point difference (27% heterosexual, 19% LGBT, 20% overall).

About the Data: This Harris Poll of 2,352 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older), surveyed online between November 8 and November 15, 2010 was conducted by Harris Interactive.