I recently came across a study by George Mason University about what Americans think about global warming, how they think it is affecting their lives, and what actions they are taking or are likely to take in order to reduce their impact on the environment. The conclusions are astounding. Here are some key data points:
In 2008, 71% of respondents thought global warming was happening. In May 2011, this number dropped to 64%.
In 2008, 57% thought that global warming was caused by human activities. In 2011, only 47% believed this.
17% in 2008 were very worried about global warming. In 2011 only 9% are worried.
In 2008 42% thought that Americans’ individual actions would reduce global warming a lot. In 2011, only 26% believed this.
This data reveals an enormous amount about how the effectiveness of the environmental movement and what environmentalists needs to focus. The “one person can make a difference” perspective has not pervaded society. Climate change has become a less important and pressing issue even though it has become more serious. We must think about how to reverse these trends and mobilize people to believe and act.
Look at the rest of the surveys–there are many more important statistics!!