Poll: How Important Is the Environment to Your Vote?


It’s funny, but here we are facing the most existential threat to the human race since Britney Spears skinny jeans hipsters the Cuban missile crisis, and neither of the presidential candidates has addressed climate change in a substantive way. Actually, that’s not funny, that’s sad.

Obama did talk about global warming in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, and later today we’ll post a short interview he did with MTV about climate change. Governor Romney, not so much.

Of course, although none may be greater than global warming, but there are far more issues facing the environment than just that. Ocean acidification. The commercialization of the Arctic as we head to ice-free summers. The collapse of fisheries. Dying reefs. Bark beetles. Wildfires and fire suppression. The challenges of renewal energy, from fights over where to put solar farms to the difficulty keeping birds safe around wind turbines. The true costs of fracking. Assaults on the EPA.

The list goes on. There’s the new sagebrush rebellion, with states like Utah and Arizona trying to grab federal lands for themselves (in AZ’s case, the Grand Canyon). Onshore and offshore drilling. Dam removal. Water use in an increasingly arid Southwest. Human-wildlife interaction.

Seriously, the issues affected by your choice of president are legion — and that extends to the House and Senate, plus your local reps, too. It is the nature of political campaigns to be simplistic, reductionist, and emotional, but to ignore these more earthy challenges seems to be cynical and irresponsible — at best. Or maybe it really is all about “jobs.”

Now, I know I’m opening a can of worms by asking a political question, but please let’s keep your commentary to the query at hands — the importance of environment to your vote. If you want to throw mud at the other guy, there’s another place for that. It’s called Facebook.


WIN SMITH SUNGLASSES JUST BY VOTING!

This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Serpico sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) — all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, November 4, at midnight PST.


{ 48 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Michael

    First one! – I like the environment, and its very important. Some other issues usually take precedent as the MOST important factors, however.

  • Dan

    I have a job so the economy is whatever. We have to wake up and think long term, I would rather save the world than create a job for someone today. This should be the #1 issue world wide from what we have seen with climate change over the last 10 years. It is just ignorant that the canidates do not even touch on the subject. And a poll on this site I assume we will all agree if not #1 it is top 3

  • Hannah

    I don’t think it’s as important as getting the economy back to where it should be but I think that it also play’s a factor into that with green jobs and everything. It’s of medium importants to me because of all the things that it effects.

  • Robby

    Environmental issues are a huge task at hand, and sadly I don’t think there is a clear cut answer on which candidates support the environment.

  • Abbie

    The environment and foreign policy. Difficult when those two subjects are paid lip service and there’s no real focus on actual improvements.

  • Lee

    I went with medium important. I’m somewhat conservative on the fiscal side so I’m having a hard time falling into a “platform”. Envioment is a huge reason I’m still undecided.

  • whispering

    It is very important, however it is also a function of a lot of the other factors our world is dealing with right now … it just needs to become a more important function of those.

  • Nik

    I went with medium important. While the environment is very important to me, it’s not getting that level of attention from the candidates, nor do I believe it will from whomever wins. So other issues are a bigger factor in my vote.

  • Craig Rowe

    I’m with Lee. There are some scary movements out there, primarily those in UT and AZ. I have long just voted issues, regardless of party. This year, I’m still on the fence.

    Although can we have a sound political talkback without Idaho Roper?

  • Corbin

    The thing that most bothers me is that environmental issues are always put on a back burner to the economy and foreign policy. Both of those things are very important, but if we can’t protect what we rely on for life, how can we really care about all the other stuff?

  • KatieSue

    I rate it way up at the top with the thinking that economy and all that stuff always changes, can be suffered through, or just plain fixed later…though don’t get me wrong, I know it is important. In comparison to the environment, if we ruin it or destroy it, it cannot be fixed or put back together. The damage there can rarely be undone, at least not in a lifetime and definitely not in one presidential term.
    Also, aren’t the dam removals they’re doing good? I’m totally for them yet they are listed with the sagebrush rebellion oil drilling bad stuff list. No so.

  • jared

    It is worthwhile to think about what a president can or cannot do with regard to a particular issue.
    Foreign policy – a lot.
    Abortion – almost nothing.
    Environment – I think a fair amount, right? Between agency staffing, executive orders, and DoJ litigation I would assume a President can get some stuff done, but I would love the opinion of someone smarter than me on this.

    My hope is that a 2nd term Obama can be more forceful on the environment.

  • MarkG2

    Not at all important to my National level vote since none of the parties actually do anything about it except give lip service. Locally on the other hand it does matter since thing can be accimplished to protect what we have a little bit at a time.

  • Matt

    We only get one playground (planet)…I hope future generations see some of the wild places that get me so hot and bothered! ;)

  • Ben P

    This is by no means a single issue election. But to me, the environment matters. Sadly it doesn’t matter much to the majority of the voting population.

  • Kaytee

    I don’t understand how the environment can not be the most important issue to everyone. Without clean air to breath, clean water to drink, and clean soil to grow our food we will not survive.

  • Hayden Beck

    Ryan has a good point….Economy and environment for sure…but I dont think any issue should be MOST important. We might loose focus on other major issues.

  • Anthony

    I just couldn’t fathom what the R would do with free reign, voting D just to keep the environment in play a little.

  • Max

    I use my job mainly to fund outdoor activities. What’s the point in the former without the latter? Health care? I guess I’d need it once I lose all incentive to train.

  • Jeremy

    It’s very important, but it’s become the third rail. The environment will get the back seat until the economy fully recovers.

  • Chris

    Very important, but I still need a government who can run the country …

    What a shame that Obama came into the economic crash, and couldnt do much for the environment when the country was hurting so much. If he’d come in in 2004, then perhaps we’d be further down the road to sorting things out a littke.

  • Jody Kaufman

    Jeremy makes a valid point. I think the sustainable position here is for folks to take individual responsibility for the environment. You and I can’t control what persons x,y or z do – but we do have 100% control over what we do or don’t do. Actions speak louder than words. Make a personal plan and move ahead.

    I’m not naive, I ‘get it’ that individuals are not an equal match for large corporations and government – but part of this is a cultural disconnect. so, in the interim, let’s connect more people through action – small, big and other. It’s a ‘show me don’t tell me’ world out there.

  • Chris

    I don’t think you can separate the economy from the environment – not without consequences. It has to be a wholistic approach – without an economy we can’t afford to protect, nurture, and sustain the environment; and without a viable environment we can’t have an economy.

  • Paul Scoggan

    I have a bad feeling that improving the economy and making responsible decisions related to the environment are at odds with one another. Building more homes and making more stuff to sell can improve the economy, but at what cost?

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