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Ron's Ramblings

A Red Flag For The Green Movement?

I'm proud of the role the HVAC industry plays in the green movement. Actions such as improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings and creating and using safe refrigerants are not only good for the planet, they're also good for our industry. They bring in a world of new opportunities for HVAC engineers and contractors, and vault our industry into a position of prominence that it very much deserves.

That's why I found it a little disconcerting when I came across the results of a recent Harris poll that identified an ongoing decline in green attitudes and behaviors since Harris Interactive began tracking such attitudes in 2009.

In an online survey of 2,451 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) conducted between March 12 and March 19, 2012, Harris found that U.S. adults are increasingly less likely to espouse green attitudes today than they were in 2009.

According to Harris Interactive: “Fewer Americans describe themselves as ‘environmentally-conscious' (27 percent in 2012 vs. 30 percent in 2009), or say they personally care a great deal about the current state, and future, of the environment (31 percent 2012 vs. 36 percent 2009 and 34 percent 2010). Most significantly, in 2012, only about 1 in 3 U.S. adults (34 percent) say they are concerned about the planet we are leaving behind for future generations — an almost 10 percentage point decrease since 2009 (43 percent).”

As a kid who wore an “Ecology” (anybody remember that?) button on his jacket in the 1970s, I've been pleased to see the growth of the green movement, and to watch Americans finally becoming more aware that the planet's resources and tolerances aren't unlimited.

So it is surprising and dismaying — and maybe even a little sadly humorous — to learn that only 34 percent of the survey respondents this year said this statement describes them “completely” or “very well”: “I am concerned about the planet we are leaving behind for future generations.”

Maybe it's just me, but does it seem bizarre that 66 percent of respondents were either lukewarm on that question, or, worse, said they didn't care at all? “Hey kids, sorry we trashed the place. Good luck with it!” I think that's a horrible commentary on our priorities — and I don't even like kids!

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