It’s true. According to a recent survey by George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication and Yale University’s Project on Climate Change Communication, a majority of Americans think it’s time to do something about climate change and that we need to increase support for renewable energy. The numbers reveal that:
- 92% of Americans believe the President and Congress should make developing sources of clean energy at least a medium priority (very high priority: 31%, high priority: 38%, medium priority: 23%).
- 61% of Americans believe the United States should lower its carbon emissions (even if other countries don’t).
- 73% of Americans support funding more research on renewable energy sources.
- 59% of Americans support eliminating all subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
- 88% of Americans believe the United States should work to reduce climate change, even if doing so has economic costs.
The support for sustainability is there. People want to take action against climate change, and they want to devote more resources to developing renewable energy technologies. So, why haven’t we made more progress? I found another statistic in the study to be very telling:
Americans say that corporations and industry (71%), citizens themselves (66%), the U.S. Congress (60%), and the President (53%) should be doing more to address global warming.
More than anyone else, Americans believe it is the private sector (corporations and industry) that should be taking action against climate change. I find that notion very interesting. By that mindset, we think businesses have a greater obligation to support sustainability than government, and we think capitalism holds greater power than legislation. That is not to say that the effort to slow global warming is a single-faceted effort – we must all participate. But, most Americans believe that businesses should be leading the charge.
So, the demand exists. Will businesses take up the call to go green and start working toward a more sustainable future? Funnily enough, most businesses will likely not make this change until they know it’s what consumers want. The demand must first be voiced, so it is really individual citizens that must take the first action. So, tell retail businesses that you want green products. Tell your power company that you want renewably-sourced energy. Go vote with your wallets – it’s the American way!