Americans less concerned about environmental problems

Apr 17, 2012

A recent Gallup poll finds Americans are less concerned about environmental problems today than they were twelve years ago.

From Gallup:

The trends are part of a broader decline in worry about environmental threats documented in the poll.

Gallup asked Americans to say how much they worry about each of seven environmental problems. All show significantly less worry today than in 2000, when worry was at or near its high point for each item. The declines in concern about drinking-water pollution and air pollution are the largest for the problems included in this year's poll.

Here's a breakdown of those concerned "a great deal" about the following problems:

Pollution of drinking water

  • 2000 - 72 percent
  • 2012 - 48 percent

Air pollution

  • 2000 - 59 percent
  • 2012 - 36 percent

Pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs

  • 2000 - 66 percent
  • 2012 - 48 percent

Contamination of soil and water by toxic waste

  • 2000 - 64 percent
  • 2012 - 50 percent

The loss of tropical rain forests

  • 2000 - 51 percent
  • 2012 - 37 percent

Global warming

  • 2000 - 40 percent
  • 2012 - 30 percent

Extinction of plant and animal species

  • 2000 - 45 percent
  • 2012 - 36 percent

Thoughts? Is this a sign of a perceived improvement in environmental conditions? A shift in perception because a Democrat occupies the White House vs. a Republican? Or another sign of hard economic times as more people shift their worries to just making a living?