Who’s the Greenest of Them All?

ENVIRONMENT

The latest Greendex survey shows that although consumers in many countries are adopting environmentally friendly behaviors, others live in wasteful cultures of consumption. (National Geographic News)

Use our resources to Think Green.

The Greendex is a quantitative study of 18,000 consumers in a total of 18 countries asked about energy consumption and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus conventional products, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental concerns. Map by National Geographic

The Greendex is a quantitative study of 18,000 consumers in a total of 18 countries asked about energy consumption and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus conventional products, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental concerns. (And the answer to the headline question? India, China, and South Korea.)
Map by National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • The “Greendex” survey profiled 18,000 consumers in 18 countries about their environmental attitudes. (Read more about the survey here.) What other people could the Greendex survey to get a more accurate profile of a nation’s environmental outlook? If not by nationality, how else could the same survey be evaluated?
    • What other people? The Greendex could always survey more people, from more nations. In fact, it is! They survey has grown in breadth and scope every year it has been evaluated—from 14 nations evaluated in 1998 to 18 today. In the future, it might be interesting to see where the well-educated populations of the oil-rich economies of the Middle East would fall, for instance. It might also be interesting to see where the population of Singapore, which depends so much on international shipping and trade, would fall.
    • How else to interpret the data? The data supplied by the Greendex could also be evaluated by economic factors. How do the environmental attitudes and capabilities of the working class or “1 percenters” compare across national borders? Are the middle classes more or less environmentally practical than the poor or the wealthy?
      • You could also evaluate the data by age, gender, rural or urban, immigrant or native, proximity to the coast, political affiliation, or any number of other factors. Some of these factors are available in the full Greendex survey. Download the highlights here, or the full report (172 pages!) here.

 

  • The Greendex survey profiled individual consumers about “energy consumption and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus conventional products, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental concerns.” What other topics could the Greendex ask about?
    • Three big missing pieces are business, government, and media.
      • Small businesses and corporations. Some sample questions might be:
        • Do businesses recycle on an industrial scale?
        • Do company cafeterias provide locally sourced food?
        • Are company uniforms cleaned by toxic-free detergents?
        • Are company cars electric or hybrid?
        • Are company toilets low-flow?
      • Government. The Greendex could index a nation’s own federal, regional, and community laws, as well as its participation in international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol and progress in meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
      • Government. “People in the north tend to point to government as being responsible rather than individuals,” says a Greendex consultant in the Nat Geo News article. “There’s a lack of individual ownership of the problems.” Most “people in the north” live in representative democracies, and future Greendex surveys could query individuals on how they are influencing government accountability. Some sample questions might be:
        • Are you registered to vote—if not, why? (Are there political barriers preventing people from voting?)
        • Do you actively seek out information on a political candidate’s environmental positions?
        • How much do a political candidate’s environmental policies influence your tendency to vote for him or her?
        • Would you financially support government initiatives to increase environmental responsibility? Read more about how Germany is doing just that.
      • Media. Some sample questions might be:
        • Where do you get your environmental news?
        • What news sources do you trust? Why?

 

 

Are you part of the “Moveable Masses” or a “Committed Green”? Read about the five types of consumers profiled in the Greendex to find out!

2 responses to “Who’s the Greenest of Them All?

  1. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. It’s proud to get aware about greendex of India… Thanks to Nat geo….

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