Americans aim to help environment
By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Lynda Arakawa
Nearly three of four Americans believe their personal actions are significant to the environment, and more than half have made lifestyle changes to be more environmentally sustainable, according to a national online poll released last week.
Still, about a third of those who hadn't changed their lifestyle said it was because they don't know what to do. Nearly 30 percent of those who hadn't made changes said they believed it won't make a difference.
"This poll shows that green living is certainly at the forefront of our minds, yet people are getting lost in the maze of information on how to lessen our environmental impact," said Steph-anie Meeks, acting president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, which worked with Harris Interactive Inc. in developing the poll. "The bottom line is that even the smallest lifestyle change can have significant impact in the long-run."
Those who said they've taken steps to be more environmentally friendly cited a variety of changes:
Only 3 percent said they replaced incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescents cost more but use about a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
"There are many things both individuals and business can do to lessen their carbon footprint and promote green living," said Suzanne Case, The Nature Conservancy's Hawai'i executive director. "Making small changes to help save the planet can help your pocketbook."
Case said the conservancy is installing energy-efficient air conditioning and compact fluorescent bulbs at its Chinatown office. Other changes include installing photovoltaic panels and switching to low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets.
Consumer interest in compact fluorescent light bulbs appears to have grown in Hawai'i. Manufacturers reported selling 700,000 CFLs statewide last year, up from 140,000 sold in 2006, according to Hawaiian Electric Co.
For tips on living a more environmentally sustainable life, visit www.nature.org/activities/everydayenv.html.
New York-based Harris Interactive conducted the study online between May 5 and May 12 among 2,602 adults in the United States.
Reach Lynda Arakawa at email@example.com.