By Bob Bendick / The Nature Conservancy
This July, as we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of our nation, much of the talk here in Washington continues to be (are we tired of this yet?) about how divided our country is. But a just-completed public opinion poll done for The Nature Conservancy by a bi-partisan consulting team reveals that the overwhelming majority of Americans from all political perspectives still believe in conserving our natural resources and that they consider conservation patriotic.
Patriotic? That’s right. More than four in five American voters say that “conserving our country’s natural resources — our land, air, and water — is patriotic.”
Other results in the poll confirm the finding that Americans still care deeply about our country’s natural resources:
- Three-quarters of the electorate believes that public lands are one of the things government “does best.”
- In fact, public lands such as some of the iconic national parks, are far preferred in Americans’ summer vacation plans.
- Three-quarters say that even with federal budget problems, funding for conservation should not be cut.
- Voters are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Fully 83 percent are willing to pay additional taxes to protect American land, water and wildlife.
- Underlying some of this support and willingness to pay may be a sense that there are economic benefits to conservation. Voters are twice as likely to say that protections for land, air, water and wildlife have a positive impact on jobs (41 percent), than a negative impact (17 percent), or little impact one way or the other (33 percent). Underlying some of this support and willingness to pay may be a sense that there are economic benefits to conservation.
- The overwhelming majority of American voters rejects the notion that protecting our environment is at odds with a strong economy.