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Playing the Planet Card: Eco-Advocacy Is Strong, But Is Environmental PR Delivering the Right Message?

Man holding an earth globe in his hands. Earth image provided by NASA.90% Want to Protect the Environment, But Are Focusing on the Wrong Things

A new national survey finds good news for the environment: Nine out of 10 Americans believe the average person should be taking concrete steps to reduce his or her environmental impact, and two thirds think that personal energy conservation habits can make a real difference in preventing climate change. But’s there’s a catch, according to new research from energy and environment marketing firm Shelton Group—the things Americans are prioritizing in their own lives don’t have the most environmental impact. Why aren’t they hearing the right messages?

“People need to be inspired to take positive action. And what will inspire Americans to save energy? Hearing that it will help protect the environment,” said Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO of Shelton Group, in a news release. “Americans are feeling increasingly anxious about the climate and want to do something, so saving the planet is a much more powerful motivator than saving a few bucks a year on your utility bill.”

The firm’s 11th annual national Energy Pulse survey found that most Americans don’t recognize the importance of improving the efficiency of their homes. Only 6 percent of Americans knew that the No. 1 manmade cause of climate change is the energy we use in our homes. The EPA reports that 30 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is created by generating electricity.

The survey also found 84 percent of Americans say they know only a little or nothing about what to do to improve their home’s energy efficiency. That knowledge gap is holding them back from making improvements.

“Most Americans don’t understand that finding ways to reduce their heating and air-conditioning use is one of the best ways to help the environment on a daily basis,” Shelton said.

Based on these findings, Shelton and her team created new recommendations for utilities, marketers and communicators of energy-efficient products: Start focusing more on the environmental benefits of saving energy.

“That means inspiring people to feel like all-stars, even heroes, when they take action to save energy,” Shelton said. “Just imagine what would happen if we took practical, unsexy stuff like insulation, old freezers and SEER ratings and connected them to feeling heroic—like a champion for our planet? That’s when good things will start happening.”

Download the complete report here.

“Energy Pulse Special Report: Playing the Planet Card” is Shelton Group’s 11th annual Energy Pulse study. The online survey polled 2,281 respondents in September 2016.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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