As a mother of two (and one more on the way!), I know it can sometimes be hard to keep a “green” mind guiding my moment-to-moment decisions. Sometimes it’s just too inconvenient and time consuming to go back home to get those reusable shopping bags you forgot and it’s easy to fall behind on laundry and reach for disposable diapers.
A few months back KeenForGreen.com, a community-based green living website, conducted a survey on obstacles to “going green.” The goal of the survey was to understand why people want to go green and what sorts of obstacles prevent people from being as green as they’d like to be.
The survey had 131 responses from 21 states. While 76% of respondents described “living green” as important, 78% percent said that they often experience various roadblocks when it comes to changing their green habits.
Not surprisingly, the number one barrier cited was COST. Over one-third of respondents felt cost prohibited them from acting more “green.” Other top obstacles included inconvenience (22%) and forgetfulness (12%).
One respondent explained, “I don’t have a lot of time or money to devote to [being green], but I do the best I can with the resources I have. I care about sustainability, but our society doesn't consider it a priority so we have limited accessibility to public transportation, telecommuting, reusing our water.”
Another confessed, “I hate to say it, but [being green] is just easier to do when it’s already gone mainstream instead of being leader or first-follower.”
To follow up, we asked what people would purchase if money was no object. The results were: 36% solar panels, 23% electric vehicles, 14% solar water heaters, 11% hybrid vehicles, 5% reusable products, and 5% would buy eco-friendly cleaning products.
In addition to these obstacles, the survey found that most of us have daily habits we are unwilling to give up, regardless of the negative impact on the environment. In fact, only 25% of those polled reported that they were always willing to change their habits for the betterment of the environment. 39% of are unwilling to give up their electric/gas clothes dryer and 37% unwilling to trade in solo driving for options such as carpooling, biking, or taking public transportation. Twenty-eight percent of refuse to give up their long showers.
“My heart is green,” explained one reader. “It's always a process for me and it does require energy. I've noticed on days when I'm tired, I lack the extra motivation to do the work and sometime can't fathom all the things that I'm trying to do in order to be more sustainable. Certain behaviors (e.g. re-using plastic bags) come and go. It can be inconvenient so it's hard to stay consistent, but the more I educate myself, the more I know that it is my duty. I feel very committed to integrating this lifestyle into my life for the rest of my life.”
Learn more about the survey and weigh in on this conversation at KeenForGreen.com. What prevents you from acting more green? What can we do individually and as a society to make green more accessible to everyone?