Climate Change: Will You Take Action?

November 30, 2011

Many are still skeptical about climate change. Regardless, what actions will you take to lessen your environmental impact?

The Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health, contains many surprising facts about meat consumptions and how it affects both health and the environment; most notably, if you skipped a steak dinner once a week with your four person family, it would have the equivalent effect as taking your car off the road for three months!

Despite these findings and more, many of us are still not convinced that global warming should be a top priority. The same is true for some weathercasters, half of which don’t believe in global warming, and fewer than one-third who believe that climate change is "caused mostly by human activities." Even further, more than a quarter of the weathercasters in the George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin survey agreed with the statement "Global warming is a scam."

A Nielsen survey found that consumer concern about climate change and global warming takes a back seat compared to other environmental issues, such as air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste, and use of pesticides. The survey titled, 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey, queried over 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries.

Sixty-nine percent say they are concerned about climate change/global warming, but concern for other environmental issues are taking a higher priority in the minds of consumers. Three out of four global consumers rated air pollution (77%) and water pollution (75%) as top concerns. But the areas where concern is mounting fastest among 73 percent of consumers is worry over the use of pesticides, packaging waste, and water shortages.

The US is one of the biggest skeptics, recording one of the steepest declines in concern about climate change/global warming from 2007 to 2011, dropping 14 percentage points. According to the Nielsen study, today, a little less than half of Americans say they are concerned about climate change. On the other hand, Latin Americans remain the most concerned about climate change/global warming, at 90 percent.

So what actions should consumers take? The surveyed consumers have mixed feelings about the environmental impact and benefits of particular sustainable practices. Sixty-four percent of consumers, globally, indicated they believe organic products are good for the environment. Recycled packaging and energy efficient products are seen as the most broadly helpful. Fifty-nine percent believe local products have a positive impact, and fair trade products 51 percent.

It can't hurt to make an effort to lessen your environmental impact. So what actions will you take?