Who really cares about climate change? Apparently, not that many. A newly released international study shows that the issue is not a priority in the United States or anywhere else around the world.
The study used coordinated surveys conducted by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) in 33 countries from 1993 through 2010. The surveys are the only ones of their kind that put long-term attitudes toward environmental issues in an international perspective. In these surveys, the participants were asked the relative importance of eight issues. These included health care, education, crime, the environment, immigration, the economy, terrorism and poverty.
The findings showed that the environment was certainly not the biggest concern. In 15 countries, the economy ranked as the highest in concern, followed by health care in eight, education in six, poverty in two and terrorism and crime in one each. Immigration and the environment, in contrast, didn't make the top of the list in any country over the 17-year period while these surveys were conducted. In fact, the United States ranked the environment as sixth in the list.
In terms of national averages, only 4.7 percent of people ranked environment as a pressing concern. The only topics that ranked lower were immigrations at 4.1 and terrorism at 2.6. In contrast, the highest area of concern was the economy at 25 percent.
In the United States in particular, only 3.6 percent of the people surveyed selected the environment as the nation's most pressing issue. Yet the survey didn't just ask about general environmental concern; it also asked questions about particular problems such as global climate change and air pollution. Yet even these issues failed to raise concern.
"One reason for the relatively low ranking of climate change is that people often believed it did not directly affect them. Climate change is seen more as a country-level problem than as a personal problem," said Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey and author of a paper that summarizes the surveys, in a press release.
The fact that so many people don't believe that the environment is a huge concern and shows a rather large global issue. As global warming continues to affect countries and as temperatures rise, it's important for countries to take action in a united front against climate change.
That said, the survey did show some good news. The surveys indicated that there was a greater mention of climate change as a problem by those under 30 versus those who were 70 and older. It could show a growing worry about the climate, and possible action in the future.
Original article here.