American's Growing Apathy to Environmental Movement

On the anniversary of the 40th Earth Day the latest Gallup poll shows that attitudes towards the environmental movement in America are declining.

[social_buttons]Despite Gallup’s attempt to spin this as a “still positive” result, the 8 point drop in American’s attitudes towards the environmental movement is indicative of a growing trend. Whether as a result of partisan blinders attempting to denounce the environmental movement as a fraud or simply as a result of attention being given over to the failing economy, the environmental effort in America is losing support.

The Gallup poll, conducted over the March 4 to 7 weekend, asked respondents whether they had been active in the environmental movement, sympathetic towards it, neutral, or unsympathetic. And though the general level of activity and sympathy towards the movement came in at 61% over 28% neutral and 10 % unsympathetic, the drop represents a 10 point drop since the question was first asked in 2000.

Since 2000 there has been a measurable increase in the percentage of Americans who claim to be active in the environmental movement, seeing the number grow from 16% to 19%. But this increase only shows the 13% point drop in those claiming to be supportive to the movement.

Possibly more damning than the level of sympathy is the whether the environmental movement has done more harm or more good question. While 62% of American’s believe that the movement has done more good than harm, this number is down from 75% in 2000. Meanwhile the number of American’s who believe the environmental movement has done more harm than good has grown from 21% in 2000 to 36% this year.

Not surprisingly those most in favour of the environmental movement are the young aged between 18 to 34, in possession of college degrees, often Democrats and self described liberals. And though men and women are relatively equal on their perception of whether the movement has done more good than harm, women are 14% more likely to be active in or sympathetic with the movement.

The partisan gap is probably the most telling statistic regarding the environmental movement. While 15% of Republicans questioned say they are an active participant is statistically similar to the Republican’s of 2000, compared to 24% Democrat and 19% Independent this year, those sympathetic towards the movement has dropped 14% since 2000 and those who are on the opposite side of the coin has grown 10 percentage points.

There has been a similar move within those qualifying themselves as Independent, with 31% claiming neutrality towards the environmental movement, up from 22% in 2000, and 10% unsympathetic, up from 4%, and a 11 point drop in those sympathetic but not active. Those active have remained steady at 19%.

Despite the general statistics in favour hanging over the happy end of 50%, the steady and continuous decline in favour of the environmental movement is too big to ignore.

Source: Gallup

Image Sources: Gallup

3 thoughts on “American's Growing Apathy to Environmental Movement”

  1. Part of the deceptiveness of this survey is the phrasing of the questions. I may, for instance, think that the "environmental movement" has not been helpful, but I may still think that it is important to help conserve resources and preserve the environment.

    If the question had instead been, "is helping the environment a priority to you?" I wonder if there could have been a different answer. How many people think the movement is doing it wrong, but still think it is important? Then that would get into the more interesting questions, such as "how do we do it right?" "What would bring you to support action taken to protect the environment?"

    Whether or not there is "support for the environmental movement" seems to me to be a fundamentally unhelpful framing. We all live here, what are we going to do about the waning resources? Just use them all up and it's the future generations' problem?

  2. The reason for American’s Growing Apathy to The Envrionmental Movement, is because more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that there is no global warming, climate change, or whatever the hell you want to call it. It’s all just a big fat lie to transfer American tax dollars to third world countries.

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