Americans’ Answers to What May or May Not Be the Right Questions

For those worried about global warming, coal is even less popular as a stocking stuffer this year. As we contemplate the “big” challenges facing us, it is interesting to consider what the public thinks. A recent Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Poll, funded by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, prioritizes 15 candidate catastrophes (click image to enlarge):


Work on Onondaga Lake, depending on definitions, interestingly encompasses the top two. If we include work on water quality in the Adirondacks and lingering impacts of acid rain, it’s a trifecta. Number four suggests that there is strong public support for a focus on forests, at least tropical ones. Emphasis on resource management makes the top six. Concerns over the use of GMOs in foods is next to last, so get those chestnuts on the fire and a happy holiday to all.

Public opinions change as fast as Syracuse weather, so putting too much weight on the views of today as guide to long term planning is to be avoided without other considerations. To explore the Yale/AP/NORC poll in detail, the report is available online:


About qdwheeler

Quentin Wheeler is the 4th president of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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