Going green: America is ranked last

In Columns on January 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm

By: Sara Allen

The picture above shows the 2010 Greendex ranking published by National Geographic/Globescan, the darker the country is shaded, the greener the country is. Photo courtesy of Google images

A lot of countries have jumped on the going green wagon by now. These countries are ranked on a scale called the Greendex. As of 2010, 17 countries are included in the ranking. Based on material lifestyles and consumer behavior, such as food sources, transportation choices and energy conservation, National Geographic/Globescan invented the Greendex to help countries see how they can improve their green ranking.

Since 2008, the first year the Greendex was published, India has been ranked as the greenest country, whereas the United States has been ranked last all three years; however, we are improving each time the Greendex has been published. One category Americans struggle in is housing. We continue to have the largest houses; 16 percent of homes in the U.S. have 10 or more rooms. The average number of homes with 10 or more rooms for all of the other 16 countries that are included in the Greendex equals less than one percent.

Also a problem for the U.S. is energy consumption, which can tie directly into the housing problem. Most American homes have “energy-intensive features,” these include hot running water (97 percent of homes), heating (94 percent) and air conditioning (82 percent). Only 14 percent of Americans report that they buy energy from a green or renewable energy source.

The last area the U.S. is having trouble with is transportation. American households are 19 percent more likely to have three or more cars or trucks than the other countries in the ranking. 53 percent of the cars owned in the U.S. are large SUVs or trucks, which require more gas and release more pollution into the air. 79 percent of Americans admit to driving alone most of the time, and are less likely to use public transportation (15 percent) at least once a week.

For the New Year, ask yourself how you are contributing to the U.S. being ranked last on the green scale. Make your resolution to reduce your carbon footprint and become more green.


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