There’s nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. Whether it’s for another gasp of air, enough money to pay the rent, or the right words to say to your boss, crises force us to jettison the unnecessary and pay attention to the immediate. Environmental issues are no exception.
Gallup has been tracking a variety of environmental concerns for more than a decade, asking Americans every March how much they worry about each. And, without exception, concern about all things green is at a historic low.
As the data show, worry about the environment has been in a slow decline since 2001. After 2004—an election year—concern about environmental issues rebounded, only to crash again in 2008 at the beginning of the recession.
Given the magnitude of the current recession, Americans appear to have set aside their concerns about climate change and sprawl, issues that are not a direct environmental threat. Instead, we are focused on the importance of clean water and air, things that affect our daily survival.