After last week’s post encouraging everyone to “green” up their holidays, I’m ashamed to admit that I have not been practicing what I preach. Between all of the Christmas cards written and stamped, the oven working overtime turning out dozens of cookies, the continuous Clark Griswald-esque light display adorning our house and yard, and the general increased driving I’ve been doing, my energy usage has gone through the roof. And all this time, in the back of my mind, there’s a little nagging thought that I should be remembering to do something, but I can never quite figure out what it is.
The truth is, this time of year, more than any other time, it’s easy to put our best “green” intentions on the back burner while we race around the countryside, making our lists and checking them twice. In fact, a 2010 Yale University survey of 1,001 American adults showed that large percentages of Americans believe that green practices are important, but much smaller percentages actually do them. Interestingly, the gap between the “believers” and the “doers” was small regarding tasks that require minimal effort (like switching off the lights when you leave a room), but was larger relating to tasks that are not as practical or interrupt the efficiency with which people live their lives (like using public transportation or carpooling, for example). And to many of us, the holiday season requires maximum efficiency.
So the bottom line is, at what point do we make the switch between being environmentalists when it’s convenient and environmentalists all of the time? And does it have to be an all or nothing deal? What do you think?