A bit of optimism to end your week. Wait. Not optimism. The other thing.
National Geographic conducted its inaugural Greendex survey in January 2008. That first Greendex survey of 14 countries around the world ranked average consumers in those countries according to the environmental sustainability of their behavior. National Geographic replicated these studies in 2009, 2010 and now again in 2012 to track progress or the lack thereof. Consistently, consumers in the large developing economies of Brazil, India and China have scored highest, while Canadians and Americans, with their relatively massive environmental footprints as individuals, have scored lowest.
That’s from the introduction to National Geographic’s Greendex 2012 [PDF], a look at consumer attitudes toward environmental issues. How’d America do in 2012? Like this:
The top-scoring consumers of 2012 are in the developing economies of India, China and Brazil, in descending order. Those in emerging economies continue to round out the top tier of the Greendex ranking, while the lowest scores are all earned by consumers in industrialized countries. American consumers’ behavior still ranks as the least sustainable of all countries surveyed since the inception of the study, followed by Canadian, Japanese and French consumers.
At least we’re beating Canada at energy efficiency! USA! USA!
Not only do Americans score the lowest on the Greendex, we don’t even care, so that’s great. Only the Germans feel less guilty about their environmental inaction. Can you believe those Germans?!?
If you’d like to see how you score, you can answer the Greendex survey questions. Can you beat Russia? Maybe even Brazil? Only one way to find out! Unilateral declaration: The fact that you’re reading about arcane environmentalism indices on a Friday evening or on the weekend is worth five bonus points. Go ahead and add those in.
Those five points alone should put you in the 90th percentile of Americans.