What should you fear? People are moved to act by their anxieties. Dying oceans, polluted rivers and lakes, unsafe drinking water in major cities, catastrophic hurricanes, severe drought and wildfires, and an increase in the intensity of weather events, have brought environmental issues to the matters Americans fear.
The yearly Chapman University Survey of American Fears in 2017 gives an in-depth examination into the anxieties of average Americans. The survey looked at 80 anxieties and ranked them according to the survey answers Chapman’s chart lists America’s top 10 worries for 2017.
It’s not just natural disasters that happened in 2017, but political events. Americans had considered the Environmental Protection Agency would safeguard our natural waters from contamination. But, Scott Pruitt, the existing Environmental Protection Agency manager, decided to not enforce significant pollution laws, and fired the EPA’s whole Science Advisory Board. No advice, no study, no problem. People have started to realize that what you do not know can hurt you.
The publicity surrounding the collapse of the state and local authorities of Flint Michigan to safeguard the city’s inhabitants from lead poisoning, and the subsequent discovery of lead and other toxins in our town water supplies, have made people fear that their water isn’t safe to drink. Just about everyone lives downstream from somebody, and pollutants that find their way into our water supplies are certain to find their way into us.
Many Americans perceived the outcomes of climate change distant and far into the future. Pictures of severe smog in China and the data in the American Heart and the American Lung Associations about the amount of deaths due to air pollution and particulates are making people increasingly fear for their own health.
Action and involvement is the antidote for what fear can create, a sense of helplessness. In spite of the collapse of our government and the EPA to protect the environment, we can still do it with market forces. The best strategy is that the carbon fee and dividend system as suggested by the Citizens Climate Lobby. The CCL legislative proposal would put an initial fee on carbon at $15 per ton of CO2 in the origin and would raise it by $10 annually before the CO2 emissions were reduced to 10 percent of their 1990 US levels. The carbon fees aren’t a tax, as they’d be rebated 100 percent to American families. It would give every American citizen a stake in conserving energy and reducing their use of carbon dioxide, which would both cut pollution and improve the market. Exercise the power on your citizenship, and insist that your Representative encourage action on climate change.