Over the last 20 years, the west coast has cultivated an image of itself as a vigilant steward of the environment and has some of the most progressive environmental state legislation in the country to back it up. Anyone living in Portland is well aware of how keen Portlanders are about making sure this planet is inhabitable in the years to come, but what about the rest of the country? The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication released results last November from a study it conducted in 2010. The study probed random samplings of Americans about whether they believe in climate change, their knowledge of specific reasons for its causes, and how their beliefs affected their decision-making. The study found that overall, 63% of Americans believe that global warming is occurring. The troubling thing the study found was that few people interviewed in the study could accurately say why climate change was occurring, or they denied man-made activities play a role in climate change.
Vast bodies of science continue to accumulate evidence pointing towards humanity’s effects on greenhouse gases and warming. European countries and rising industrial powers like China and India are already working on new technologies as well as developing cheaper green energy solutions, but it seems that for the world to get serious about the issue it has to come from the leader of the world- America. There always seems to be an issue more important than tackling global warming. We’ve had a war on hunger, a war on drugs, and combative wars with other countries. And, most recently, we’ve had a real tough battle with the global economy. There is always a pressing issue that causes us to put global warming on the backburner. Economic indicators have, for the past few months started to show signs that the economy is slowly but surely coming back around. Let’s make sure after we tackle this latest issue we can finally place a high priority on global warming. Clean energy initiatives will spur new job growth as well as solving our long-term environmental problems. It’s a win-win, but it has to start with America making it a priority for itself and for the world.