Earth Day 2017: how are we doing?

Photo is from, I own no rights to it. 

Happy (late) Earth Day! For the occasion, The Pew Research Center conducted a survey last year and published it last week to show how our country is doing and how Americans view environmental issues. This is what they reported:

  • Overall, Americans support protecting the environment, but there are deep partisan divides on the issue. About three-quarters of U.S. adults said the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment.
  • Views about environmental regulations are more partisan today than they were a decade ago. Roughly 58 percent of Republicans said that environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy. This is up from the 34 percent in 2007.
  • Many Americans view protecting the environment as a top priority (55 percent), but higher shares cite other issues – like terrorism (76 percent) or the economy (73 percent) – as a top priority.
  • 75 percent of Americans say they are concerned about the environment, but fewer say they make an effort to live out that concern all the time. But, only one-in-five Americans say they make an effort to live in ways to help the environment “all the time”.
  • Overall, 32 percent of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. The majority of Americans do recycle but don’t always know what is or isn’t recyclable.
  • What actually gets recycled varies by product type.  A Pew Research Center analysis of EPA data found that 99 percent of lead-acid batteries (the sort found in cars and trucks), 88.5 percent of corrugated cardboard boxes and 67 percent of newspapers and directories were recycled in 2013. By comparison, just 13.5 percent of plastic bags and wraps and 6.2 percent of small appliances were recycled that year.


What this study shows us is that Americans believe environmental issues take a back seat to other issues and convenience. I think it’s important that we put the environment at a higher priority. It’s about making a future for our planet. The Pew Research Center research shows us that it’s time to take more action instead of just talking about it.


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