Remember Copenhagen? Look at that red line peaking in 2009. A poll of over 22,000 people in in 22 countries tells the story: seriously declining interest in environmental issues. According to research firm Globescan,
Asked how serious they consider each of six environmental problems to be—air pollution, water pollution, species loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages, and climate change—fewer people now consider them “very serious” than at any time since tracking began twenty years ago.Climate change is the only exception, where concern was lower from 1998 to 2003 than it is now. Concern about air and water pollution, as well as biodiversity, is significantly below where it was even in the 1990s. Many of the sharpest falls have taken place in the past two years.
It's the economy, stupid
One is tempted to blame Fox News and the campaign to discount global warming, but the fact is, interest in environmental issues has dropped all over the world, coinciding with the worldwide economic crisis. Writing in Greenbiz, Sam Mountford of Globescan explains: :"The full ramifications of the banking collapses, ensuing government bailouts and cripplingly high levels of public indebtedness that have resulted have only slowly become apparent. And bluntly, for many citizens, these appear to pose a much clearer and more present threat to their well-being than environmental jeopardy, which for most people remains hidden from view."
While concern about climate change appears to be trending upward in the developed world, the chairman of Global Radar, Doug Miller, has a dire warning for all of us.
Scientists report that evidence of environmental damage is stronger than ever—but our data shows that economic crisis and a lack of political leadership mean that the public are starting to tune out. Those who care about mobilizing public opinion on the environment need to find new messages in order to reinvigorate a stalled debate.
It sort of makes the discussion of whether green design is over sort of petty, the whole movement is in the tank.