Environment falls as priority for Americans – Pew
2009 may not be such a green year in America after all.
“Of the 20 issues people were asked to rate in both January 2008 and January 2009, five have slipped significantly in importance as attention to the economy has surged. Protecting the environment fell the most precipitously – just 41 percent rate this as a top priority today, down from 56 percent a year ago,” Pew said.
It said green concerns and others such as illegal immigration had been overtaken by growing anxiety over the souring economy.
“The share of Americans saying that strengthening the nation’s economy should be a top priority has risen from 68 percent two years ago to 75 percent last January to 85 percent today,” it said.
The poll comes in the first week of the presidency of Barack Obama who has clearly signaled that the economy is his top priority. But Obama has also promised to reverse much of the environmental legacy of former president George W. Bush on issues such as climate change and the creation of so-called “green jobs” is high on his agenda.
Conservation groups have already said they are feeling the pinch. The Bronx Zoo based Wildlife Conservation Society said last week that it was facing a “dire financial situation.” Conservation is clearly losing ground to the economy as an issue that people can devote attention or resources toward.
What do you think? Do you think the conservation movement is in for a rough spell? Or will it just be a temporary setback and environmental issues will grab the public’s attention again in the near future?
The nationwide poll of 1,503 adults was taken from Jan. 7-11 and has a margin of error of three percentage points.
(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Fred Prouser, Dec 26, 2008, USA)