Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek

Trending

Filed under: News | Technology News

 

On This Earth Day, It's Actually Easier To Be Green

Apr 22 2014, 1:21am CDT | by

1 Updates
On This Earth Day, It's Actually Easier To Be Green
 
 

YouTube Videos Comments

Full Story

On This Earth Day, It's Actually Easier To Be Green

 EDITOR’S NOTE: Forbes has just published Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry, an eBook investigating why a growing number of Americans are giving up their cars. Written by Forbes contributor and former New York Times Detroit bureau chief Micheline Maynard, this illuminating account of our changing automotive habits is available for download now. Here’s an excerpt looking at how environmentalism has become an every day event.

Those of us who grew up watching Sesame Street sang along to Kermit the Frog’s lament, “It’s not that easy being green.” But for many Americans, it’s actually easier than ever to be green.

Sustainability has quietly become an every day event, less a statement than a way of life. That is something experts at Stanford University call “pro-environmental socialization.” In other words, if you are expected by your refuse collection system to separate your cans and bottles and your newspapers, you do it, without feeling you are making a social statement.

On the first earth day in 1970, it was a common sight for skies in industrial cities to be gray with pollution, and for a thin film of soot to cover cars and clothes hanging out to try. Litter flew across American highways, and cigarette butts were strewn on restroom floors.

By the time American millennials became aware of dirty air, smog was something they saw in pictures of Beijing and Shanghai. No one in a state with a recycling law would dream of throwing away a soda bottle; in Michigan, it yielded a 10 cent deposit.

People now regularly tote their own canvas shopping bags to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as to local farmer’s markets. The statements that our parents’ generation made by being environmentally conscious is just part of the landscape for those born after 1980.

In the middle of all this, millennials are responsible for their own significant shift. A study by the advocacy group US PIRG found that Americans between 16 and 24 years of age reduced their driving by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. Granted, this federal highway data is a little old, but those years were not a time when much emphasis was placed on creating greener college campuses, aside from some recycling programs.

Now, however, 30 plus campuses are offering bike share programs. Colleges like the University of Dayton are offering free bikes to incoming freshmen if they do not bring a car to campus for two years. Campuses, like Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, are redesigning their landscapes to cut down on automobile use and promote the use of bikes, as well as walking.

It will be interesting to see the impact this will have on millennials as they get older. If this generation is discouraged from using automobiles when they’re in school, and taught it’s easier to be green, their behavior could carry over into adulthood. And that could affect the transportation choices they make, and demand, for years to come.

You can buy Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry at Amazon and Apple now. On Wednesday, take part in a Twitter chat with Micheline Maynard at noon ET/9 am PT. Tweet questions to #AskForbes and follow @forbes.

10 Cities Where Bicycles Rule The Streets

 

You Might Also Like

Updates


Sponsored Update


Advertisement


More From the Web

Shopping Deals

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Getty Images
Courteney Cox at 50: 'Friends' star dazzles in smoking-hot bikini
The adorable actress, known for her role in U.S. sitcom, "Friends," is making waves in a 50-is-the-new-21 way.
 
 
George Takei came out because of Arnold Schwarzenegger
George Takei came out because of Arnold Schwarzenegger
Legendary Star Trek actor reveals why he came out. The reason is no other than Terminator actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
 
Miss America 2014 Parade to Feature First Ever 3D Printed Shoes
Miss America 2014 Parade to Feature First Ever 3D Printed Shoes
Thanks to Maggie Bridges and Georgia Tech, we will see the first 3D printed shoes on the stage of the shoe parade
 
 
Vicki Gunvalson Flirting With David Beador
Vicki Gunvalson Flirting With David Beador
The Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson admitted flirting with "hot" co-star David Beador
 
 
 

About the Geek Mind

The “geek mind” is concerned with more than just the latest iPhone rumors, or which company will win the gaming console wars. I4U is concerned with more than just the latest photo shoot or other celebrity gossip.

The “geek mind” is concerned with life, in all its different forms and facets. The geek mind wants to know about societal and financial issues, both abroad and at home. If a Fortune 500 decides to raise their minimum wage, or any high priority news, the geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants to know the top teams in the National Football League, or who’s likely to win the NBA Finals this coming year. The geek mind wants to know who the hottest new models are, or whether the newest blockbuster movie is worth seeing. The geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants—needs—knowledge.

Read more about The Geek Mind.