June 18, 2007

Terrorism vs. Climate Change: Americans Reconsider

I just discovered some good news today: Americans are not as ignorant as some make us out to be. How do I know this? Because a full 63% of survey respondents believe that the U.S. "is in as much danger from environmental hazards, such as air pollution and global warming, as it is from terrorists." This is according to a recent survey from the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

It's just further proof that public discourse helps to advance critical issues—and that people really don't mind thinking about things in shades beyond black and white. These numbers, however, are set against another set of very telling statistics: Only 50% of respondents say they trust television news and 45% trust newspapers when it comes to environmental coverage. This tells me that a lot of folks out there rely on other means for their environmental information. This isn't just about blogs spreading the word, though; it's about other facets of American culture stepping up and covering this topic. The vast majority of survey respondents trust universities and their scientists aove all others (like industry scientists) for environmental information. Once again, we see the fundamental impact of America's educational insitutions.

Perhaps the most reassuring statistic, though, is that 81% of respondents also agreed they have a "responsibility to help reduce the impacts of global warming." So not only are we thinking more critically about the issues, we're actually starting to recognize that we each have a key role to play in making change.

Download the survey's key findings.

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