The number of green consumers who purchase environmentally-conscious products has risen dramatically over the past few years, but, according to a recent survey, the green trend seems to be leveling off or even declining. Are people becoming less concerned about the environment?
A recent Harris poll looked more closely at the strength of the environmentally-conscious movement by surveying 2,352 adults from across the nation. Although most said they were concerned about the environment, their actions spoke differently.
The number of Americans who choose to local foods dropped over the one-period between 2009 and 2010. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed claimed to have bought local foods in 2009, but only 33% reportedly did so in 2010. Organic food selections declined also, but sales of organically grown foods are still on the increase according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Americans also made less effort to cut back on their water usage last year and were less likely to compost food, invest in a hybrid car, donate or recycle electronic items and drink bottled water. They were also less likely to choose their political candidates based on their environmental platform in 2010.
This environmentally-conscious trend was also influenced by demographics. The sexual orientation of those surveyed played a role in whether or not they were green consumers. Gay, bisexual and transgender adults were more likely to be concerned about the environment and to buy environmentally-friendly products. They were also more likely to take steps to be environmentally-conscious than the heterosexual population.
This trend doesn’t necessarily point to the demise of the environmental movement. People are less likely to be green consumers during hard economic times, so the tough economic conditions in the past few years may have had an impact on the green consumer movement.
On the whole, most people still say they’re concerned about the environment and are as likely to describe themselves as environmentally-conscious as before. But with the number of green consumers declining, their actions aren’t necessarily consistent with their beliefs.
The bottom line? It’s hard to draw conclusions based on this small survey since it only looked at the change over one year, but it does raise concerns about whether the environmentally-friendly movement is losing some steam. Hopefully, people will return to their environmentally-friendly ways when economic issues are less of a distraction.
Food Navigator USA. “US Adults Less Eco-Friendly in 2010”