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THE ENVIRONMENT: TEENS AREN'T GETTING IT

 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to environmental knowledge, America's teen-agers could use some remedial education, according to results released today of a new nationwide quiz commissioned by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., commonly known as S.C. Johnson Wax.
 The survey, "Teen America's Environmental Green Point Average (GPA)," conducted by The Roper Organization, found that despite increased concerns for the environment, teen-agers, like adults, who completed the identical quiz in 1991, lack a basic knowledge about environmental issues.
 According to the survey, the typical high school student polled was able to answer only three out of 10 questions correctly -- a failing Green Point Average of 31 out of 100 points. Adults scored 33 out of 100 points on the same poll taken in 1991. The teen survey was conducted face-to-face with 506 high school students in grades 10-12 from Nov. 14-25, 1992.
 "We realize that today's youth will play a critical role in future environmental protection efforts, but we must develop more effective environmental education programs in order to reach the average American teen-ager," said EPA Administrator Carol Browner. "Environmental education is an important new initiative at the EPA. However, widespread improvements in environmental literacy require a unified commitment from government, business, environmental organizations and educators alike to increase the quality of our environmental education initiatives."
 Commenting on the survey, Peter Berle, president of the National Audubon Society, said, "There are many environmental educational tools available in schools, in the media and elsewhere." The National Audubon Society has pioneered in this field, particularly with grade school students and middle school teachers. "However, it is obvious that much more needs to be done. We all need to develop a more effective delivery system. This study is a loud wake-up call for increased environmental literacy. Ecological knowledge is humanity's key to long-term global sustainability."
 "The need to increase environmental literacy is a critical one for business," said William George, president and CEO of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. "Our ongoing goal is to improve the environmental quality of our products through greater eco-efficiency -- that is, using less to do more while reducing waste overall. However, the marketplace acceptance of these improvements hinges upon public understanding of their significance. As this research indicates, we have a real challenge ahead of us."
 The EPA's Office of Environmental Education, the National Audubon Society and S.C. Johnson are currently discussing methods for enlisting other government officials and leading environmental educators in more focused efforts to address both short- and long-term approaches to the problems highlighted by the study.
 The environmental knowledge quiz consisted of five true-false and five multiple choice questions. Only one of the 10 questions was answered correctly by a majority of high school students polled. Six questions were answered correctly by only one in three. Teen-agers polled fared the worst on these three questions:
 Q. The U.S. government allows most aerosol products to contain
 chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are commonly known as ozone
 depleters.
 A. False. Only 23 percent answered this question correctly.
 Q. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spilled 10-11 million
 gallons of oil off Alaska's coast. Compared to the amount
 spilled by the Valdez, how much used motor oil would you say is
 dumped by car owners into drains and sewers each year? Is it:
 Less than one tenth the amount; About half as much; Twice as
 much; More than 10 times.
 A. More than 10 times as much. Nine percent answered correctly.
 Q. Which of the following materials do you think was the most
 widely recycled in the U.S. last year -- that is, having the
 highest percent of the amount used being recycled for other
 purposes?
 Steel; Plastics; Paper; Glass
 A. Steel. Nine percent answered correctly.
 The survey was designed as a follow up to Roper's 1991 study of the environmental knowledge of American adults. It was intended to explore younger Americans' understanding of a variety of environmental issues as well as to compare the environmental knowledge of adults with that of high school students, according to Tom Miller, senior vice president, The Roper Organization.
 "We asked the same questions of high school students in recognition that today's teens will play an important role in environmental protection for decades to come," Miller said.
 Since 1990, Roper studies have documented intense public concern for the environment in the United States. But this concern is not mirrored by widespread positive environmental behavior or broad-based knowledge of environmental facts, according to these studies.
 The Roper Organizations concluded: "Considering the poor GPA scores of adults and the even poorer scores among high school students, the most important news coming out of the Teen GPA report is the urgent need to improve our current environmental education curriculum. Without a solid background in both the nature and causes of various environmental problems, it is difficult for American citizens to make informed decisions."
 The Roper Organization is one of the largest and best-known marketing and opinion research firms in the world. Founded in 1933, it is also among the oldest polling organizations. Many Americans are familiar with the Roper name through polls the company conducts for such periodicals as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The company's research data also is published 10 times a year in the "Roper Reports," which explore public attitudes on political, social and economic issues, and monthly in the "Public Pulse," which analyzes trends in American attitudes, values and behavior for more than 1,000 subscribers worldwide.
 The National Audubon Society is an activist membership organization, with 516 chapters in North and Central America. The society has 600,000 adult members, and has 550,000 grade school students in 18,000 classrooms enrolled in its Audubon Adventures environmental education program. Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.
 S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., provides quality cleaning and maintenance products for the home and workplace in 46 countries around the world. Some of its familiar product brands include Pledge Furniture Polish, Glade Air Freshener, Edge Shaving Gel, Windex Glass Cleaner and Off! Insect Repellant. This month, Sam Johnson, S.C. Johnson chairman, will be inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame in recognition of his visionary environmental leadership during the company's major worldwide expansion throughout the 1960s, '70 and '80s.
 -0- 4/20/93
 /NOTE: Pledge, Glade, Edge, Windex and Off! are registered trademarks./
 /CONTACT: Kelly Shipp or Chris Bimba of Edelman Public Relations, 202-371-0200, for the survey/


CO: S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.; The Roper Organization; The Audubon
 Society ST: District of Columbia IN: ENV SU:


TW-DC -- DC018 -- 7487 04/19/93 14:22 EDT
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