Americans again choose environment over economic growth

A new Gallup poll reveals that Americans again choose environment over economic growth. From Gallup:

In a March 6-9 Gallup Poll Social Series survey on the environment, Americans said the environment is a priority over economic growth by a 50%-to-41% margin. In the 30 years that Gallup has asked this question, Americans have almost always chosen the environment over economic growth as a priority.

The percentage of Americans who prioritized the environment swelled to 71% in 1990 and 1991, with the lowest percentage for economic growth occurring in 1990, at 19%. That year is notable for the mass revival of Earth Day, begun in 1970 by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson as a way to boost environmental awareness. The 20th anniversary of Earth Day attracted hundreds of conservational groups that pressured businesses for tighter environmental regulations.

This really should come as no surprise to anyone - except, of course, to some myopic economists and corporate interests who stand to profit from short-term growth. It makes perfect sense that Americans would value the quality of life of future generations over short-term economic gain. 

Gallup noted that the Democratic and Republican parties are far apart on environmental and economic growth priorities:

Two-thirds of Democrats say the environment should be prioritized higher, while about one-third of Republicans say the same thing. This is the largest partisan gulf since 1997, mainly as result of the sharp rise among Democrats prioritizing the environment higher than economic growth. Both parties give higher priority to the environment than they did prior to the 2008-2009 economic recession.

Perhaps both parties should listen to the American people, who seem to recognize that unending growth within the finite borders of our United States is a certain impossibility. Colorado's Professor Al Bartlett aptly summarized this principle in his great question:

Can you think of any problem
in any area of human endeavor
on any scale, from microscopic to global,
whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way
aided, assisted, or advanced
by further increases in population,
locally, nationally, or globally?

By the way, mass immigration is driving US population to double within the lifetimes of children born today. That will mean twice as many roads, cars, houses, schools, hospitals, and prisons. It will mean twice the demand for scarce natural resources such as oil - which we are already extracting from foreign countries. It will mean twice the impact on our sustaining natural ecosystems.


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