This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 26, 2011

People Experiencing Green Fatigue

Adults in the United States are now less likely to demonstrate "green" attitudes and engage in various environmentally friendly activities, than they were in the summer of 2009. According to a new Harris Poll, these folks are now less likely to engage in green behaviors in their daily life.

Interestingly, the exception to this finding is adults who self-identify as being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender (LGBT). These non-traditional adults reported being "greener" than their heterosexual counterparts. LGBT adults are more likely to express concern for the environment, describe themselves in green terms (e.g., environmentalist, "green," conservationist), and say environmental issues are important to their voting and purchasing decisions.

Specifically, compared to 2009, adults in America are now less likely to engage in various green behaviors in their daily life, including making efforts to use less water, purchase locally grown produce and locally manufactured products, and compost organic waste.

Moreover, US adults are also less likely think or act green to have adopted certain environmental activities in the past year. In fact, six percent fewer purchased Energy Star appliances, nine percent fewer donated or recycled electronics; six percent fewer switched from bottled to tap water, five percent fewer installed a low-flow showerhead or toilet and, five percent fewer purchased a hybrid or more fuel-efficient car.

A more shocking finding is that now only 36 percent of adults say they are concerned about the planet they are leaving behind for future generations, compared to 43 percent who said so in 2009. Plus, fewer adults said environmental issues were "very or extremely important" to them when deciding how to vote for political candidates as well.

We believe that this waning of support for the environment is the direct result of the worldwide Great Recession and the distraction of the American public by more immediately pressing (and personal) issues. When people everywhere are struggling to survive, they are much less likely to consider the effects of their actions. Expect this trend to reverse, once unemployment is significantly reduced and the economy really recovers for ordinary people. Increasingly alarming climate changes will also draw more attention to the imperative of "going green".

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