Posted on | August 12, 2009 | No Comments
Last week, Treehugger posted an interesting piece about a poll that was conducted on average citizens in countries around the world, the U.S. included. The question asked was, on a zero to 10 scale, “How high of a priority should the government place on global warming?” and the answers, shown in the nifty bar graph below, are an indication of just how far we have to go in getting Americans to care about climate change. The lowest red bar, on the left side of the graph, shows that Americans listed climate change at a priority of 4.71, with 10 being the highest priority. As you can see, that’s much lower than any other country in the world.
So what do we have to do to get Americans to care about climate change? Sadly it took a giant hurricane and the near total destruction of a beloved American city during Hurricane Katrina to get the country to wake up; the following year, An Inconvenient Truth came out on the heels of the environmental disaster in New Orleans, and people did start to kick it into gear. But here we are, three years later, essentially in the same spot. Between the presidential election, the housing bubble bursting, and the economy collapsing, we are a country with a lot on our plate. So it’s understandable that we may have lost focus, and are tempted to dilute things like the Energy Bill that’s currently making its way through Congress. But, although the economy may bounce back without changes in environmental policy, the environment CAN’T bounce back if we don’t try harder to fix it. And climate change may only get worse. The scary part is that we really don’t know. But not caring is not helpful.