One Green Thing: Are you embarrassed to not be green?

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

According to a new poll of 1,105 Americans, littering is seen as being more embarrassing than cheating on your taxes (according to the Shelton Group).

Mentioned from the study:

• Driving a gas guzzler — very embarrassing to 26 percent of respondents)

• Smoking cigarettes — very embarrassing to 36 percent of respondents

Other interesting notes — almost 20 percent of poll respondents say they would show the same level of shame if they got caught NOT recycling their plastic bottles, using disposable paper plates and letting the water run while brushing their teeth.

Suzanne Shelton, CEO of Shelton Group, believes “the idea of sustainability has finally permeated the American conscience.”

I am in agreement with the article ( — the real question is how to increase the number of people who have adopted the good or better green behaviors. Shelton says environmental awareness could be compared to smoking. (In 1970 almost 40 percent of Americans smoked … today, the number is below 20 percent!)

There were a number of reasons people quit smoking (not limited to), including cost, dangers to health, encouragement from children and encouragement from friends.

When you think about it, that is a relatively short period of time for such a big change. Shelton says “once 20 percent of the population adopts a behavior (or eliminates a behavior, as in the case of smoking), it continues to grow steadily.”

Could we use these same reasons in discussions to help our family and friends “go greener”? This column will continue to work to that goal. Won’t you join me and try to do just ONE GREEN THING this week?

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the March 20-26, 2013, issue

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