The U.S. public, while aware of the deteriorating global environment, is concerned predominantly with local and national environmental issues, according to results from a recent survey. "The survey's core result is that people care about their communities and express the desire to see government action taken toward local and national issues," said David Konisky, a policy research scholar with the Institute of Public Policy and assistant professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, who conducted the study. "People are hesitant to support efforts concerning global issues even though they believe that environmental quality is poorer at the global level than at the local and national level. This is surprising given the media attention that global warming has recently received and reflects the division of opinion about the severity of climate change."
Konisky recently surveyed 1,000 adults concerning their attitudes about the environment. The survey polled respondents about their levels of concern for the environment and preferences for government action to address a wide set of environmental issues.
A strong majority of the public expressed general concern about the environment. According to the survey, the top three issues that the public wants the government to address are protecting community drinking water, reducing pollution of U.S. rivers and lakes, and improving urban air pollution issues like smog. In the survey, global warming ranks eighth in importance.
"Americans are clearly most concerned about pollution issues that might affect their personal health, or the health of their families," Konisky said.