Personal Sacrifice and the Environment

In this day and age it’s disturbing to think that Americans are not willing to make sacrifices in their way of life in order to help the environment.  Unfortunately a recent article in the Wall Street Journal states that:

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of 1,007 adults — conducted earlier this year by the organizations of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Bill McInturff, his Republican counterpart — found that 34% of respondents said global warming was a serious problem and immediate action was necessary, up from 29% last year and 23% in 1999…But apparently, they are willing to make changes only if it doesn’t affect them too much. When the ABC News poll asked if they’d be willing to alter their lifestyle if it meant personal inconvenience, only 45% of respondents said they were very willing to make such a sacrifice. And just 31% said they were doing “a great deal” to reduce their energy consumption.

To me this means two things:

One; manufacturers are going to have to take into account when designing and marketing  more environmentally friendly products.   A car that gets great incredible mileage will only be successful if it pretty much drives the same as a regular car, hauls as much as a regular car, and drives as fast as a regular car.  The same goes for smaller products.  Take for example energy saving light bulbs; they function the same as regular light bulbs and people are starting to use them despite a higher price tag.  But getting people to buy an electric lawn mower that requires them to navigate around an extension cord and many people will take a pass.  It seems that price is less of an obstacle than inconvenience. 

Two; federally mandated improvements will need to be a big part of any kind of plan for environmental improvement.  I know too many people that kind of statement seems counter to the whole idea of smaller government but the article goes on to say:

Federal policies to combat global warming would draw majority support if they aren’t too costly, according to a survey of 1,491 adults conducted this year by Stanford University

The people seem to have spoken and they seem to say that they want someone else to do it; the government, as the peoples representative is that someone. 

While polls say that most people in the US and other countries now believe that human activity causes global warming the US is still behind the rest of the world in coming to that conclusion.  We still have a long way to go.

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