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68% of Americans Now Believe Climate Change Is a Serious Threat

Published by: Tinia Pina on 14th Nov 2012 | View all blogs by Tinia Pina

Global Warming - Re-NubleHow important was climate change in this most recent election?  It’s difficult to say.  After all, the topic scarcely came up on the campaign trail – a fact lamented by many environmental activists.

True, Obama offered varying degrees of support for clean energy and environmental protection, while Romney derisively mocked attempts to “slow the rise of the oceans.”

But given how many issues came up in this election (reproductive rights, tax codes, immigration reform, etc.), it’s difficult to conclude whether Obama’s victory was a decisive referendum on global warming.  The President won for any number of reasons.  And let’s not forget – the election was quite close.

However, a recent poll by Rasmussen suggests that climate change is an important issue for a growing number of Americans.  According to the survey, 68% believe climate change is serious – a 47% improvement from a similar Rasmussen survey conducted in 2009.

Silent Fall Replacing Silent Spring – the Demise of Climate Change Denial

It’s worth noting that the survey took place just days before the election during the height of Hurricane Sandy cleanup (and several weeks after Hurricane Isaac delayed the Republican National Convention).

It’s quite possible that, if the Rasmussen survey had been conducted 3 months ago, this 68% number would be much lower.  In fact, a 2010 Gallup poll found that 48% of Americans believed global warming’s severity to be exaggerated.

But as of right now, the number isn’t lower because:

  • Hurricane Sandy did happen
  • The RNC was delayed
  • Millions are still without power (and many people lost much more)

Whereas “green” and “environment” used to be dirty words that invited public backlash from climate change deniers, even the far right was noticeably silent in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Denial is a tough sell when entire New Jersey neighborhoods are being washed away because of a freak storm that originated somewhere off the coast of South America.

Why Climate Change Acceptance Gives Us Hope

This growing acceptance is encouraging.  Even if global warming is only a political topic (or not) during any given election cycle, it seems that the public’s attitude is slowly shifting.

This gives us hope.

It gives us hope because our mission to green the planet feeds off of public participation – regardless of what the Beltway does or doesn’t do.  Growing acceptance increases the very community activism that fuels our Green Back Approach.

It gives us hope because addressing the grave environmental problems we face requires acknowledging that these problems even exist.  It seems like such a simple first step.  But remember, in 2010, less than half the country considered climate change a serious issue (and 30% continue to believe it’s not important).

It gives us hope because, as a nation, we’ve long been reluctant to join the international community in the fight against global warming.

This reluctance is truly problematic when you understand the disproportionate number of resources we use for a population of our size.  The US is less than 5% of the global population, but we consume nearly 25% of the world’s energy.  For us not to be involved is unthinkable.

Do You Share Our Hope That Acceptance Will Spark Greater Action?

68% is a pretty encouraging number.  It’s not where we need to be, but it’s a dramatic improvement from where we were just a few years ago – in fact, maybe just a few weeks ago.

Do you share our hope that climate change acceptance will lead to major improvements in the future?

Do you believe that 68% is a good starting point for slowing the rise of the oceans and improving the way we generate energy, manage waste, or harvest food?

Then we encourage you to do any and all of the following:

  • Write your congress people today and let them know that climate change is real and needs to be addressed.  Help us convert the “public” will that Rasmussen’s survey illustrates into the “political” will that our country needs.  Click on these links to contact Senators and House Representatives in your state.  Hopefully it’s been updated since the most recent election.
  • Tell your friends, coworkers, and family members your thoughts on climate change.  Share these environmental facts or this interactive presentation.  Some of your friends may call you crazy, but you won’t be the odd man out for very long.  The tide is turning.  We just hope the message gets out before another Hurricane Sandy (or worse) comes along.

There’s safety and power in numbers.  Our efforts will yield greater results if we work together.

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