Guilt vs. Empowerment: the Struggles of An American Consumer

Last week, National Geographic News published the article  “Americans Least Green—And Feel Least Guilt, Survey Suggests”, which addressed the different perceptions of “green guilt”.  As the title indicates, Americans have a larger environmental footprint, and don’t feel as guilty as other, greener cultures do.  However, the title doesn’t capture another finding from the study which showed that “Americans are the most confident that their individual actions can help the environment.”  This confidence is an important part of the equation, according to Dr. Thomas J Dean, management professor at the College.  Tom was quoted in the article regarding the importance of delivering information consumers can trust regarding the environmental impact of products.

“In the United States we know a food is organic because there’s a certification process in place that is set out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to define what organic foods are”, said Dean.

As an American consumer myself, I couldn’t agree more – both with the importance of trusting a certification as well as believing in the impact of my actions.  I encourage you to read this article, and while you may not feel guilty, perhaps you will feel empowered to go make a difference in our world.

-Kathryn Ernst

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