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Californians Are the Most Eco-Minded Americans, Study Finds

GinaMarie headshotWords by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Energy & Environment
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Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown set a new goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. It is the biggest emissions reductions goal in North America, making the Golden State even greener.

Californians are responding to their state’s environmental record as the results of DDB’s Life Style Study show. The study compared California adults and found that, on every topic in the survey, Californians are much more likely to engage in behaviors indicating they care about the environment.

California residents not only believe in climate change, the survey found, but 59 percent of them are very concerned about the issue, compared to 48 percent of Americans overall. Perhaps one of the reasons Californians believe in climate change is because they see its effects in their state. Human induced GHG emissions have increased the probability that low rainfall years are also warm, according to a study published in March in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. In other words, climate change is increasing the probability of the warm-dry conditions that created the current drought the state is experiencing.

California is a place “where you can really enjoy the outdoors, pretty much year-round in a way that is not possible in many other parts of the country,” Denise Delahorne, senior vice president of group strategy at DDB Worldwide, told TriplePundit. Spending so much time outdoors allows Californians to be “more conscious of the immediate environment,” she added.

Californians engage in environmentally conscious behaviors


DDB's Life Style Study also found that Californians are engaging in environmentally conscious behaviors. Over a quarter (37 percent) of Californians say that when it comes to the environment, they try hard to do the green thing, compared to the national average of 28 percent. Over half (53 percent) of Californians say they are actively trying to reduce their carbon footprint, compared to 44 percent of other Americans.

Californians practice simple behaviors that benefit the environment: Almost half (49 percent) say they always carry reusable bags into the grocery store, compared to 30 percent of other Americans. The majority (78 percent) of Californians say they make a strong effort to recycle everything they possibly can, compared to a 65 percent national average.

Californians' green behavior extends to the businesses they choose to patronize:


  • 45 percent of Californians say they make a special effort to buy from businesses that are environmentally conscious, versus 37 percent of other Americans.

  • 38 percent of Californians say they would do more business with a company that ensures that its practices have minimal social/environmental impact, versus 34 percent of other Americans.

  • Only 30 percent of Californians say they would not change their behavior toward a company responsible for causing environmental damage, as opposed to 37 percent of other Americans.

Californians want to see more action on climate change


The DDB study is not the only one to find that Californians are more environmentally conscious. A Yale University study on Californians’ attitudes about climate change found that 6 in 10 support more climate action by Gov. Brown, the state legislature and local government. Most (73 percent) said corporations and industry should be doing more to address the issue, and most (70 percent) said citizens should also be doing more.

Image credit: Flickr/B Garret

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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