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Green Purchases Motivated by Money And Not Saving the World


Energy GuideGood news! More and more Americans care about energy efficient products. Over 50% of Americans have bought energy efficient appliances, 61% say they want an automobile that gets more than 30 mpg, and the majority of people are switching to energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

According to a new report from Yale and George Mason research teams on climate change communication, it’s heartening that Americans care enough to buy energy efficient appliances, environmentally friendly products, and automobiles that get great gas mileage. However, the intentions behind these purchases are not what they seem.

The study discovered that while a number of people do intentionally buy green products, they no longer believe their actions have a positive or drastic impact on reducing global warming. In fact, people are less convinced than ever that their individual actions are having any impact on slowing climate change.

Since 2008, the number of hopeful Americans wanting to save the world by intentionally making conscientious consumer choices declined by 48%. In that same year, more than three quarters of the country believed that if the majority of people made the same mindful purchases, global warming would be reduced greatly. Now, in 2013, this number is down from 48% to 31%. In 2008, 78% of the public thought that if the majority of the people in the country took the same green lifestyle steps, global warming would be reduced greatly, and now, in 2013, that’s down to 56%.

The upshot of the study found that while consumers are being conscientious about buying green products, energy efficient appliances, gas efficient automobiles, and energy-efficient CFL bulbs, the intentions behind the choices is not necessarily positive or altruistic and may be instead rooted in saving money and not saving the world.

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