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Natural Resources

Is conservation motivated more by convenience and cost than conscience? Add to ...

Canadians use copious amounts of water. Australians own the most refrigerators and air conditioners. And while the love affair with cars runs deep in many countries, South Koreans prefer to commute by public transit. These are some of the findings of an OECD survey of 10,000 people in 10 countries, including about 1,000 Canadians. The 2008 survey is a first for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a Paris-based group that includes 34 countries. In a report released this week called Greening Household Behaviour, the organization outlines what it heard and learned from its multiple-country snapshot and what public policies could spur consumers to make better environmental choices. No matter where you live, common themes exist, said OECD spokesman Matthias Rumpf. Consumers respond to higher prices for energy and water. They're hungry for information on changing their wasteful habits. They will change their ways, such as recycle more or take a bus to work, if it's convenient, the survey found.

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