Eco Minute August 28, 2014
The economic downturn of recent years, what some call the great recession, has come with a silver lining for our relationship with the environment. This is the EcoMinute and I’m Christian Wagley. With higher prices and lower incomes, Americans changed their behaviors in a number of ways that benefitted the environment.
In 2008, the number of miles that Americans drove decreased for the first time since 1980. That same year, a record number of people used mass transit, trains and busses and many more people commuted by bicycle. Back home, backyard vegetable gardens sprouted at the highest rate in decades.
The experience of the recession gives us great insight into human behavior. Despite decades of education campaigns encouraging people to live more environmentally friendly lives, ultimately it was the economic forces that pushed the largest number of people to action.