Being honest about being green

Matt Murphy

The battle to be green in today’s consumer marketplace is an increasingly tough one. It’s even tougher to be green in our everyday lives.

I recycle, but a stray wrapper or bottle sometimes finds its way into the wrong receptacle. I turn off lights when I leave
rooms , but I have no less than four objects currently plugged in and using power in my room. I don’t conserve water. I drive everywhere. I do loads of laundry with five or fewer items — like anyone has enough clothes for a full load of delicates?

Apparently this is a level of honesty that the rest of America cannot cop to.

Setting aside my humble-brag, Americans favor environmental protection over economic growth by a margin of 50 percent to 41 percent, according to a recent Gallup poll.

This poll has been administered for the last 30 years, and while the margin is growing smaller, and in my opinion more accurate, it still isn’t true.

In a not-so-startling coincidence, the Environmental Protection Agency just approved infamous oil company BP’s return to the Gulf of Mexico. They can now seek new leases to drill two years after one of their rigs exploded and devastated a section of that same area.

If the American public won’t own up the way it really feels about the environment, apparently the government will.

What no one in the Gallup poll is willing to admit is that they don’t want to pay more money for anything than they have to. And environmental protection is expensive.

The “greener” something is, the higher the price tag will be. Based on the poll, Americans would be shelling out for more expensive zero-emission cars, solar panels and things made of hemp.

The American consumer wants things quickly and cheaply. I’m the same way. I get irritated when a package takes more than five days to get to my door. Nearly anything environmentally conscious, besides turning off the lights, is neither of those things.

An act like denying instead of approving BP’s new leases would have sent a message to the public that environmental protection is more than checking a box in a survey, it’s quantifiable, physical actions.

Matt Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewcharlesz on Twitter.