Global warming is unique among the issues facing the modern world in that a characteristic of belief has been associated with it. Every day, people rely on what science has discovered. However, skeptics question the scientific basis for global warming. A look at the concepts people embrace reveals some interesting results.
Pressing Environmental Issues
A June 2012 Washington Post-Stanford University poll surveyed participants for their opinions regarding environmental issues, specifically, global warming. Of the people questioned, 29 percent identified pollution as the biggest problem. Global warming ranked second at 18 percent.
The poll also looked at the effects of inaction on global warming. If nothing is done to prevent it, 72 percent of participants believed the world’s temperature would go up slowly. However, only 30 percent thought the actions of humans alone caused it. Almost half thought it was a combination of human-caused events and natural occurrences.
Actions to Take
While people may acknowledge the existence of global warming, there is disparity about what actions to take. According to an April 2012 Gallup poll, 65 percent of adults favor mandatory standards for greenhouse gas emissions. However, some measures have experienced a downward trend in support.
Both development of alternative fuel sources for automobiles and stronger enforcement of federal regulations have gone down since 2006. This effect coincides with the downward spiral of the economy, which may have played a role.
If one assumes that global warming is indeed happening, then one cannot ignore the beliefs of future decision-makers regarding the necessary actions to take. A study by the University of Michigan found that less than 13 percent of Generation Xers were alarmed or concerned about global warming.
In addition, only 25 percent strongly believed that fossil fuels cause global warming. Most had mixed feelings about the subject. Over one-half had given the matter little thought or was not important to them personally.
The findings of the University of Michigan are disconcerting to those that accept that global warming and climate change is occurring. They also provide an opportunity for reaching out to the doubtful and unconcerned. Personalizing the effects of global warming can help bridge the gap between disengagement and action.