Americans Want to Demand an Environmental Change

Would you believe that 92% of Americans say that they are worried about dependence on foreign oil? Or that 93% of Americans want the government to develop new energy technologies and require the auto industry to make cars and trucks that get better gas mileage? How about 32% of Americans don't trust major news papers as a source of Environmental Information? Or that 53% of Americans think there is so much information and disagreement in the media that they don't know who to believe? Well... it's true. I was amazed at what I found in the news release of the 'Environmental Poll' -a yearly survey conducted on behalf of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies by Global Strategy Group. Where, among the interesting statistics, the survey (PDF) illustrates Americas growing concern for the environment, and increased frustration with the major news media and politicians, and our hope for a technological solution.The primary source of my environmental news is derived from scientists at major research universities from around the world. Most Americans (83%) would agree with me, that although science may not be perfect, it offers the clearest picture of environmental problems and possible solutions- which is why it is unbelievable that the White House, or Congress for that matter, has any voter approval at all. Bonnie Erbe, a columnist for the Seattle PI, has a nice little opinion piece today on the recent scandal in the white house of 'editing' scientific reports (here is the good bit):

'If I were to write a fictitious account of special-interest manipulation of public policy, I could do no better than the following: "Longtime oil-industry lobbyist rewrites scientific government treatise to downplay the dangers of global warming. Systematically revises government report so as to nullify the now-proven dangers of global warming on the eve of U.S. president's meeting with British prime minister on global pollution control treaty."

It's so unreal and outlandish, one's first reaction is, it can't possibly be true. But it is, verified by the whistleblower and scientist whose work was being "edited" (read: distorted) as a sop to corporate interests, who then leaked the story to The New York Times. Wait, there's more.

Initially, the White House endorsed the hack job by lawyer and former American Petroleum Institute lobbyist Philip Cooney as part of "a normal interagency review of all documents related to global environmental change." Excuse me while I disgorge'

So why don't Americans stand up? Why haven't we raised our hands and demanded fair representation of our beliefs? I'm not sure -except to say that some people do stand up, and in general the public feels if you're a "crazy environmentalist" you're just as bad and should sit back down. "It's those damn hippies!" Is a common phrase to dismiss the warning of environmental doom. But there is a positive outlook we here at Treehugger are strong proponents of: would you believe that 76% Americans agree that you don't have to sacrifice environmental protection to get economic growth? Well it's true.

One way to make sure you know that the statistics someone is spitting at you are true is to get your hands on the survey/poll, and make sure you have all of the information listed below.

The 'environmental poll' survey was conducted from May 15-22, 2005. The survey was conducted using professional phone interviewers. The nationwide sample (n=1000) was drawn from a random digit dial (RDD) process. Respondents were screened on the basis of age, i.e., to be over the age of 18. The survey has an overall margin of error of ±3.1% at the 95% confidence level. ::Survey PDF ::Yale News