As one might have guessed, jobs and the economy are top of mind among Americans, according to the latest survey by Pew Research Center, and the environment and global climate change are lesser priorities at this point in time. Our Ocean Project survey findings are quite similar. In the Pew survey, climate concerns came in last among the 20 issues polled on, with only 30% of Americans saying that global warming is “a top priority,” compared with 35% in 2008. Over the past year protecting the environment fell the most precipitously of the 20 issues – just 41% rate this as a top priority today, down from 56% a year ago. Energy concerns ranked sixth in the poll — just behind education and social security — with 60% of voters endorsing it as a top priority. Get the full findings from Pew and get the New York Times' Andy Revkin's take on it.
Of course, for anyone concerned about the health of our world's ocean, we have our work cut out for us to make the ocean a priority as it's not on most people's radar screen. Linking ocean health with climate health - and making it relevant to people's lives - will be a major priority moving forward.
By the way, the World Ocean Day theme for 2009 is "one climate, one ocean, one future." Check it out - and get involved - at the WOD website.