No. 29, March 15, 2013
In This Issue:
Poll: Americans See Population's Connection to Environmental Problems
A new poll commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity confirms what we strongly suspected: Americans increasingly understand that runaway population growth is pushing wildlife toward extinction and making climate change worse.
Respondents also said addressing the human population -- which topped 7 billion in 2011 -- is an important environmental issue and that society has a "moral obligation" to address wildlife extinctions related to that population growth. Ken Weiss of the Los Angeles Times broke the story with this piece; we highlighted the groundbreaking poll in our op-ed in The Daily Beast, here.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, made it clear that Americans agree population growth is a driving factor in so many of today's environmental crises, whether it's sprawling development crowding out Florida panthers and sea turtles, loss of wild habitat for San Joaquin kit foxes in California, or climate change pushing polar bears and ice seals toward extinction.
Among the poll's results:
64 percent said that, with the human population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, wildlife will be adversely affected.
61 percent said they are already concerned about the rate at which wildlife is disappearing.
57 percent believe human population growth is "significantly impacting the disappearance of wildlife."
Population Growth and Climate Change
The same poll also showed this: Americans understand that numbers matter when it comes to climate change; they understand our consumption levels are out of balance. Taken together, the results on consumption and on climate change suggest people agree that population/consumption should be part of any comprehensive solution to climate change.
57 percent said they "strongly agreed" or "somewhat agreed" that population growth is making climate change worse.
56 percent said either stabilizing or reducing population growth would make climate change easier to solve.
48 percent said the average American consumes too many natural resources, whereas a mere 17 percent said we are consuming too few.
The Way Forward
It was heartening to see that most Americans understand these connections and don't want them ignored. These are mainstream concerns that deserve to be part of the conversation about saving wildlife, wild places, our climate and ultimately ourselves.
Even though those who profit from the population explosion insist that we can grow our way out of any problem -- more housing developments, more strip malls, more oil drilling, more of everything -- we know now that many Americans aren't buying what those folks are selling.
Here are the bottom-line results:
60 percent said our society has a "moral responsibility" to address wildlife extinctions in the face of a growing population.
54 percent agree that stabilizing population growth will help protect the environment.
59 percent said addressing the effects of population growth is an important environmental issue.
The next step is making it crystal-clear to decision-makers that Americans want something done now -- that this issue should be a national priority and part of any discussion about saving the world we live in.
Connect with us on Twitter and at our Pop X: Human Population and the Extinction Crisis Facebook page.
Hasta la victoria,
Population Campaign Director
Center for Biological Diversity | P.O. Box 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710
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Florida panther photo courtesy Flickr/MacJewell