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Aware But Unwilling to Change? Green Guilt Not Enough To Change Behavior

by Brigid Milligan

According to the National Geographic Society and the consultancy GlobeScan, Americans lag behind the rest of the world regarding sustainable behavior, but notably don’t feel that bad about it.

The fourth annual Greendex report studied 17,000 consumers in 17 countries, asking questions about behavior such as energy use, conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the use of green products versus conventional products, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability and knowledge of environmental issues.

The study reveals a distinct disconnect in how Americans view sustainability and their individual agency – Americans ranked last in sustainable behavior, with only 21% feeling guilty about the impact that they have on the environment. However, they simultaneously have the most faith in an individual’s ability to protect the environment.

As well, many consumers in India, China and Brazil report feeling the most guilty about their environmental impact and yet have the least confidence that their individual actions can help the environment. 

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