2010 National Geographic Greendex Survey
June 4, 2010 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Results of the Greendex survey of sustainable consumption patterns reveal that consumers in most of the 17 countries profiled have adopted more environmentally friendly behaviors over the past year. All but one of the countries polled in both 2008 and 2010 showed improvement over the past two years. Summary of the survey. Interactive map. Calculate your own score. Full survey results (14mb PDF).
posted by hippybear (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The survey sucks. For example buying a new car is worse than simply driving less. They ask you about buying new energy efficient appliances rather than hanging your wash out to dry and getting rid of your tv altogether. Growing your own food is ok, but it would be better if instead of buy that place in the country you lived in a high density apartment and bought locally grown food. Finally the survey seems like a clever ploy to gather market research so that national geographic can sell more ads for hybrid car, new washer dryers, etc under the guise of making you feel green. If you really want to save the world buy less and do nothing more often. Sit on your front porch with the ac off and watch the xeriscape.
posted by humanfont at 10:32 PM on June 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


About half of the American respondents still don't know or still don't agree that "the primary cause of recently measured increases in Earth's temperature" is increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
posted by pracowity at 10:50 PM on June 4, 2010


I drink crude oil for breakfast. How many points is that?
Finally the survey seems like a clever ploy to gather market research so that national geographic can sell more ads for hybrid car, new washer dryers, etc under the guise of making you feel green.
Ah, cynicism. A truly renewable resource.
--
Anyway. I think buying a hybrid car is a good idea, because first of all you can keep driving as much as you did before, you'll release less CO2. And on top of that, you'll increase market demand for hybrids, which will make other car makers be more interested in making their cars hybrids too. And if you have a long commute then it probably will pay for itself, although you should keep in mind that you're wasting your life as well as gas.
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on June 4, 2010


According to my "Greendex" score, I live like an Indian.
posted by pracowity at 11:58 PM on June 4, 2010


Got a 66, but many of the questions don't apply to me at all. Seems a poorly written questionnaire.
posted by scottymac at 12:04 AM on June 5, 2010


The fact that you can't indicate you had weatherstripping and double-paned windows and suchlike put in years ago like we did (it's either in the past year, you'll be doing it in the next year, or you've no plans to have it done) is just plain—weird? shortsighted? telling? Anyway apparently we're as green as Russia and points north which seems well oxynymical.
posted by kipmanley at 12:19 AM on June 5, 2010


yea, and I bet I lost marks for not having an energy-efficient car and dishwasher, when I actually have no car or dishwasher
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:03 AM on June 5, 2010


Growing your own food is ok, but it would be better if instead of buy that place in the country you lived in a high density apartment and bought locally grown food.

This sentiment, which I've heard from several sources, drives me absolutely fucking bonkers.

1) If nobody buys the place in the country, then, uh, who the fuck grows that local food? You'd really prefer that giant factory farming be the only farming in existence?

I have every intention of raising goats and honeybees on my place in the country. I expect to have far greater yields of milk, cheese, meat, honey, and mead than I can personally use. And so I'll be selling it... locally.

2) Some of us are psychologically and practically unsuited to living in areas of high population density.

Living in the city drives me crazy. I get paranoid and irritable from all the constant contact with other people. The crime and violence gets to me. Hearing my neighbors scream at each other makes me homicidal. Given that I mostly dislike shows and clubs, the only things that even kind of mitigate the negatives are restaurants and dive bars--and they don't do enough.

And some of us have hobbies and pursuits totally unsuited to congested spaces. Will you rope off huge sections of the city parks so that I can shoot my rifle at 400 yards, and fly my RC helicopter? Will you agree not to make noise complaints or get my hobbies banned for being "unsafe"? For that matter, how do you suggest that I transport a 4-foot-long helicopter, the accompanying bag of gear, and bottles of (alcohol-based, non-fossil) fuel on public transit?

Do you promise not to yell at the dude who works night shift and also plays the drums in his time off? Hell, do you promise to remain totally silent during the day, on the weekend, so that my nightshift-working wife can actually get some sleep?

Some of us are entirely too annoying or too easily annoyed to be good apartment neighbors. And while I'm willing to make a great number of sacrifices for the environment, I'm completely unwilling to sacrifice my sanity.
posted by Netzapper at 1:25 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


AndgoddammitIhavetohaveoffroadfourbyfourmonstertruckwithmachinegunturretsyndromepryitfrommy...

Breathe.

Everyone wants everything. Everyone wants to practice "hobbies and pursuits totally unsuited to congested spaces." The point is that we can't all have everything to ourselves or the world is fucked. Maybe you don't need that private rifle range and that private landing strip for your toy helicopter. You could be a better neighbor if you tried.
posted by pracowity at 2:00 AM on June 5, 2010


I received that survey in the mail and duly deposited it in the recycling bin.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:16 AM on June 5, 2010


The point is that we can't all have everything to ourselves or the world is fucked.

Cap, trade, done. There is plenty of CO2 emissions for everyone to do the things they want to, as long as they're willing to pay for it. Trying to solve this by individual self control is never going to work. Even if 50% of the population was able to do it, it still won't be enough because greedy oil companies, coal companies, etc would still pollute like crazy.
posted by delmoi at 2:17 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone wants everything. Everyone wants to practice "hobbies and pursuits totally unsuited to congested spaces." The point is that we can't all have everything to ourselves or the world is fucked. Maybe you don't need that private rifle range and that private landing strip for your toy helicopter. You could be a better neighbor if you tried.

Hah. I don't want the private either of those things. I'm perfectly happy with the current solution, with is clubs out in the sticks that provide space for those things.

But, I've never heard of a city with a rifle range. [They have indoor pistol ranges where rifles are allowed. But shooting a rifle at 25 yards is useless.]

And RC helicopters are definitely not high-population-density toys, either. Even if you gave us all of Rittenhouse Square Park, cut down the trees, and didn't complain about the noise, it wouldn't be possible. Some pedestrian would get hit and die, people would bitch and moan, and that'd be the end of it.

If I don't live out in the country, where these things are feasible, my only other option is to drive out to pursue them. Gee, seems like I'm pulling a net positive by living near the things I want to do, raising some livestock, and growing my own food.

Here's the other thing: as far as I can tell, the world is fucked anyway. Global warming is probably reversible. But, what doesn't appear to be reversible to me is the endless power grab by organized groups of rich people.

I couldn't care one tiny shit if the world gags to death on oil and smog if the alternative is living shoulder-to-shoulder, two-hundred deep in privacy-free, authoritarian cities.

Like, come spend the rest of your life in my hall closet. I'll feed you and water you and muck out your shit and everything. Doesn't that sound like a really great life? I'm sure that if you don't like it it's just because you aren't trying hard enough. That's pretty much what living in the city feels like to me.
posted by Netzapper at 3:26 AM on June 5, 2010


btw, I'd totally pay a penny for every round I fire. And a buck for every hour I operate my helicopter. I have no problems buying carbon credits for what I do.

It just drives me crazy when people talk down on country folk for not doing "their part" by living in the city. You wanna talk about -ists. Countryists pretty much belong in there with racists and sexists.
posted by Netzapper at 3:29 AM on June 5, 2010


I lost points for saying I rarely take public transportation (I tried fiddling with the answers, so I know it docked me). I rarely take public transportation because I walk everywhere. I don't own a car, so it isn't like I am using my car instead of public transport.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:33 AM on June 5, 2010


Countryists pretty much belong in there with racists and sexists.

Incorrect.
posted by delmoi at 4:27 AM on June 5, 2010


Finally the survey seems like a clever ploy to gather market research so that national geographic can sell more ads for hybrid car, new washer dryers, etc under the guise of making you feel green.

The Force is strong with this one.
posted by Skeptic at 6:58 AM on June 5, 2010


Yeah, this survey is kind of bogus. No option for "own an old X appliance, don't plan to replace for fifteen years" or "don't X appliance at all". Though given the score I ended up (how am I more "green" than the average Indian?!), I wonder if it wasn't inferring that the "no don't own one and don't intend to get one" actually *was* the greener answer. Buying a new energy star appliance generally isn't often actually an "improvement" because of all the additional manufacturing costs combined with a giant pile of recycling (unless you insure yours is re-used as a working appliance for someone else).

However, as this is a subset of the questions used to *predict* a reader's real score, I hope this means the full survey had lots more questions in the problematic areas ...
posted by R343L at 7:40 AM on June 5, 2010


I hope this means the full survey had lots more questions in the problematic areas

The full survey, which is linked to above, had a whole slew of questions about attitudes regarding ecological and green issues. Personally, I don't find the calculate-your-score link to be nearly as useful as the full survey results, but I thought readers might want to use the tool NG provides to find some kind of baseline for themselves in the context of what is being reported.
posted by hippybear at 8:15 AM on June 5, 2010


This sentiment, which I've heard from several sources, drives me absolutely fucking bonkers.

Count me in. High density cities are a good part of the problem! So many people have left the farms to work in the cities that there is a shortage of locally grown food and that's a substantial part of why we have to import from distant locations.

I left Vancouver where I took an hour or more of transit each way to work because I couldn't afford to live close to my job. Often the full-sized bus I was on had 3-5 people on it. Compare that to me living in a small town where I can afford my 5 acres, grow much of my own food, and it takes me under 10 minutes to get to and from work. This year I've planted more food than I need so I will be giving a lot (mostly squashes) to friend and donating to the local shelter. Next year I expect to have chickens, guinea fowl and goats so I can do even more of that.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 9:21 AM on June 5, 2010


If you really want to save the world buy less and do nothing more often.

"Our detractors say we're firing people. We think of it as giving them incentives to save the world."
posted by ersatz at 11:10 AM on June 5, 2010


Is the average Indian green because they want to be or because they had no other choice? I was under the impression that some areas still don't have consistent electricity, and no one has hot water or air conditioning. If you can't afford a car, you still get points, even though you might buy one if you had the option.
posted by desjardins at 1:05 PM on June 5, 2010


So many people have left the farms to work in the cities that there is a shortage of locally grown food and that's a substantial part of why we have to import from distant locations.

maybe i'm a sucker but i'd guess it has more to do massive, monoculture agribusiness, the never ending stretch of the suburbs into what used to be farmland, and our desire to eat things that don't grow locally or are not in season locally, and less to do with billy leaving the farm them bright city lights.
posted by rainperimeter at 10:46 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Countryists pretty much belong in there with racists and sexists.

Incorrect.


Eh, I was real tired.

I should have gone through my whole thought process, which is that countryists are largely classists.

It requires a pretty high net income to live a sustainable, pleasant life in the city. The majority of people in cities don't even have access to a grocery store. I know when I lived in Philly, the only grocery store I could get to on public trans, without spending almost the whole day on just grocery shopping, was Whole Foods. I could not afford Whole Foods.

For the amount I was spending in rent in Philly, I can have a house out in the sticks, grow my own food, and buy a fair amount of my provisions from other local farmers. [I also get to stay sane and shoot guns, but that's not really part of the argument supporting the statement to which you take objection.]

Living in the city means major compromises in standard of living. I'm not talking about how big my house is, or having a garage. I'm talking about basic personal safety and access to resources. That is, unless you're making a substantial wad of cash.
posted by Netzapper at 11:02 PM on June 5, 2010


I don't have a problem with people living in the country, especially people who work the land and therefore don't need to commute every day. Ex-urbs have much more of an effect on the environment because people almost invariably commute by car, and because they require an infrastructure that housing alone cannot subsidize. We used to live in an exurb of Chicago and were spending tons of money on gas because every time we wanted to go anywhere, even out to dinner, we had to drive 10+ miles. Work was 25 miles one way. We lived there because we couldn't afford anyplace closer to where we worked, even if we figured in the reduced gas usage. But I hated every second of it.
posted by desjardins at 9:50 AM on June 6, 2010


The tiny town in which I live is nearly perfect for this kind of thing. The town only has about 9000 residents, but the university here has about 9000 students, so the population kind of booms during the school year. We live walking distance from the university, where my partner teaches, we're walking distance from a grocery store and the post office and most of "downtown" (which is mostly bars and a few banks and a restaurant or two)... We have three grocery stores to choose from (none of them more than 3 miles from the house), there are lots of basic services available...

And yet we are also only 20 miles from Spokane.

So we're able to live our lives very locally, but don't have to really go far if we need the more extended services available in a decent-sized city. We really only drive into the city once or twice a month, if that, so we're minimizing a lot simply by staying local.

I wish more suburbs and exurbs had their own city identity and were able to support such things. Maybe they could if they were designed not as bedroom communities meant to simply feed into urban centers.
posted by hippybear at 9:57 AM on June 6, 2010


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