July 16, 2013
The 'Greendex': Another useless eco-indicator?
National Geographic -- an organization that has gone off the rationality and rigorous science rails over the past two decades -- has developed what it calls the "Greendex," which apparently is "a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods ... [ranking] average consumers in 17 countries." The Economist magazine covered the Greendex, and did so in an entirely uncritical manner. Thus, as with other eco-indicators such as the Happy Planet Index and the promotion of solar roads, we need to take a closer look. The Economist, in its article entitled "Green, grow or guilt?," shows the following scatter plot of "feeling guilty about one's own environmental impact" versus the corresponding Greendex score by nation (i.e., how green you are -- the higher the better). There is a high positive correlation. In other words, nations that feel most guilty about their own environmental impact (e.g., China,...(Read Full Article)