Environmental awareness

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amy perlmutter

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Sep 8, 2007, 8:39:16 PM9/8/07
to greenyes
I’m trying to find out if there have been any surveys done of environmental awareness, or indicators of it, in the US, broken down by state or region.  Recycling rates may be one indicator of awareness, purchase of EPP’s,...  Anyone have any ideas or places they can steer me to?  

Thanks.

--
Amy Perlmutter
Principal, Perlmutter and Associates
Fellow, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, UMass
23 Avon Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-354-5456

David Biddle

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Sep 17, 2007, 4:31:41 PM9/17/07
to amy perlmutter, greenyes
Amy-

Check out this Joel Makower blog entry that I received today:
http://makower.typepad.com/joel_makower/2007/09/whats-behind-th.html He makes reference to the Green Gauge reports. You might want to follow the links in the article.

The book “Breakthrough” by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, the authors of infamous essay “The Death of Environmentalism,” feel the same thing Makower does, i.e., that opinion surveys about environmental awareness are rather specious. There’s a lot of evidence for this and S&N provide some in their book. People say they are concerned about the environment when you ask them, but at the same time more generally when asked what the top 10 issues are that concern them, most folks don’t even put the environment on their list.

Obviously you’re after very specific info on recycling type awareness, but I’m not sure how much value there is in it. This helps you not at all, I know. Sorry.

Db
--
David Biddle, Executive Director
<http://www.blueolives.blogspot.com>
Greater Philadelphia Commercial Recycling Council
P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118

215-247-3090 (desk)
215-432-8225 (cell)

<http://www.gpcrc.com>

Read In Business magazine to learn about sustainable
businesses in communities across North America!
Go to: <http://www.jgpress.com/inbusine.htm>




on 9/8/07 8:39 PM, amy perlmutter at a...@aperlmutter.com wrote:

amy perlmutter

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Sep 17, 2007, 4:39:47 PM9/17/07
to David Biddle, greenyes
Thanks, David.  Actually, what I am looking for are some statistics to back up what businesses leaders have told me in some focus groups I have been running on clean tech: that one of the draws of doing business in Ma is heightened awareness and understanding of environmental issues. It’s interesting how many business people have said that.  So I was thinking that could perhaps be illustrated through documenting behavior (Ma recycling rate compared to other states- not sure what else I can find to illustrate behavior), or some sort of survey about environmental attitudes or awareness that might compare states or regions.   I’ll look at the mackower piece.  I welcome any other suggestions.  I’m looking for something that’s less than 5 years old, preferably relatively recent.  







On 9/17/07 4:31 PM, "David Biddle" <Dbi...@gpcrc.com> wrote:

David Biddle

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Sep 18, 2007, 5:17:58 AM9/18/07
to amy perlmutter, greenyes
There must be something you can use at the GreenBiz.com site. Try: http://www.greenbiz.com/toolbox/reports.cfm

--
David Biddle, Executive Director
<http://www.blueolives.blogspot.com>
Greater Philadelphia Commercial Recycling Council
P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118

215-247-3090 (desk)
215-432-8225 (cell)

<http://www.gpcrc.com>

Read In Business magazine to learn about sustainable
businesses in communities across North America!
Go to: <http://www.jgpress.com/inbusine.htm>


Kim Leslie

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Sep 18, 2007, 8:21:03 AM9/18/07
to David Biddle, amy perlmutter, greenyes
Of course there's also the survey of the states we do which provides
recycling rates. We last conducted it in 2005 so the numbers would be
for 2004 if I remember right. We will be working on the next survey
which would give you 2006 (maybe 2007) numbers.

That may be helpful.

Kim Leslie
Raymond Communications
301-518-0215

Alan Muller

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Sep 18, 2007, 10:34:10 AM9/18/07
to David Biddle, amy perlmutter, greenyes
At 04:31 PM 9/17/2007 -0400, David Biddle wrote:
Amy-

Check out this Joel Makower blog entry that I received today: http://makower.typepad.com/joel_makower/2007/09/whats-behind-th.html He makes reference to the Green Gauge reports. You might want to follow the links in the article.

The book "Breakthrough" by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, the authors of infamous essay "The Death of Environmentalism," feel the same thing Makower does, i.e., that opinion surveys about environmental awareness are rather specious. There's a lot of evidence for this and S&N provide some in their book. People say they are concerned about the environment when you ask them, but at the same time more generally when asked what the top 10 issues are that concern them, most folks don't even put the environment on their list.

Yep, I agree.  And elected officials, with few exceptions, are the same.  Part of the problem is that "environment" and "environmental" are terms so broad and vague as to mean little.  Like "family values." What does it mean ... ????  I also think a big part is the disarray of the US environmental movement, if there still is one.  It seems tied up in turf-defence, competition, and grant-grubbing.  Is any real intellectual leadership coming from it, on, say, global warming or resource management?

Clearly the business community, bogus as most of the "green" propaganda is, is shifting ground more quickly and more effectively than NGO's.

Alan

Pat Franklin

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Sep 19, 2007, 6:28:16 AM9/19/07
to Kim Leslie, David Biddle, amy perlmutter, greenyes

RE: State Recycling Rates

Comparing state recycling rates is never an apples-to-apples comparison and
should be avoided. First off, it is highly unlikely that one would ever
find two states that measure exactly the same items. One state might include
construction debris, or automobiles, while most states do not include these
items. Secondly, state "A" might include imported items (aluminum cans for
example) that were generated in state "B" but recycled in state "A". This
happens (with aluminum cans in fact) at the national level. Cans sold and
collected in Canada are recycled in the US. Both Canada and the US count
them as "recycled" cans, when in fact, only Canada should take credit for
recycling since they were generated there.

Bottom line.....don't put any credence in overall state recycling rates.

Pat Franklin
patfarrel...@gmail.com


*************************************************************

Alan Muller

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Sep 19, 2007, 8:31:25 AM9/19/07
to Pat Franklin, Kim Leslie, David Biddle, amy perlmutter, greenyes
At 06:28 AM 9/19/2007 -0400, Pat Franklin wrote:


>RE: State Recycling Rates
>
>Comparing state recycling rates is never an apples-to-apples comparison and
>should be avoided.

Pat:

Yes, I agree. But: if somebody with a potential interest asks me,
and I respond with something like "it's hard to really know..." or
"our 'recycling' rate is between 4% and 60% depending on definitions
and who you are talking to ...." they are likely to lost interest,
especially if they are corporate or "policy" types attuned to the
idea that nothing can be taken seriously if not measured.

What do you suggest?

Alan

Kim Leslie

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Sep 19, 2007, 8:27:11 AM9/19/07
to Alan Muller, Pat Franklin, David Biddle, amy perlmutter, greenyes
I also agree that it is hard to make comparisons, but at least when we
survey the states and the District of Columbia, we ask how the
information is derived to give the reader of our report (mostly those
corporate types) the tools they need to make their own conclusions. We
also incorporate a table legislation so that people can see how other
states do it. I don't know if other organizations take the time to
make those distinctions in their reports, but they are important ones.
If anyone can come up with something else they would like to see
incorporated to better explain these differences and definitions, let
me know. We're working on the next survey now.

Kim

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