The Worst Personality Type for the Environment


Could it be yours? (Photo: Getty Images)

Sorry, Kermit the Frog — you may have to share your personal theme song, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” with the extroverts.

Researchers from the United Kingdom recently investigated if personality type could be linked to green behaviors. In order to test this theory, study experts examined the lifestyles and habits of 204 adults over the age of 50. The type of green activities asked about via survey included turning off the TV and lights, making sure faucets weren’t running too long, buying recycled products and bringing their own bags to the grocery store.

And the results were surprising: On a scale of one to five — one being living a limited green life and five being adopting a very green way of living — the most outgoing group of them all scored as the least likely to be green, ranking in at 3.26. (The conscientiousness group scored the highest at 4.14.)

Related: Extroverts Are Rarer Than You Think

“Adopting green behavior gets an increasing amount of attention at the moment due to extensive media coverage,” Sianne Gordon-Wilson, study co-author and Senior Lecturer from University of Portsmouth, explains to Yahoo Health. “Even this week, with the G7 leaders agreeing to phase out fossil fuel emissions, we, therefore, expected there to be a higher possibility of this being a topic of discussion among extroverts, due to their characteristics of being sociable, active, person-orientated and talkative.”

She adds that previous research had concluded that extroverts were a super green-friendly bunch “but not specifically for older consumers.”

Related: 5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Extroverts.

So why did the over-50 extroverts fall into the “reasonably green” category? The researchers believe they’re too consumed with their busy social lives, making them more easily distracted to put forth the extra effort. However, Gordon-Wilson has hope that this gregarious group can begin to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.

“They can be ‘spoken’ to through word of mouth, but specifically through dialogue due to the sociable nature of extroverts,” she says. “Different channels can be used. For example, social media and online forums.” She also believes listening to the green opinion leaders—“including celebrities, politicians, school children, like their grandchildren, and group leaders who organize meetings for the over 50s”—may make a difference.

Related: Understanding The Two Types Of Extroversion

Here’s something else to keep in mind: the number of super-social, somewhat non-green people may not be such a big crowd. After all, extroverts are rarer than you think.

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