The depletion of natural resources has emerged as the dominant environmental concern among citizens of the global North, according to the latest wave of GlobeScan’s tracking survey of world environmental concerns, rating ahead of issues such as climate change and water shortages.
Environmental concern has been on a long-term upward trajectory, with majorities of the global public in countries tracked by GlobeScan rating a range of environmental challenges as “very serious,” despite a falling back of concern, particularly about the climate, in 2009.
The map above illustrates the degree to which regional dynamics and economic circumstances influence the perceived severity of environmental issues around the world. Water shortages are the dominant public concern in sub-Saharan Africa, air pollution and species loss in Latin America, and automobile emissions in rapidly urbanizing China. Climate change remains a second-tier environmental concern in most nations.
The continued pre-eminence of natural resource depletion, relative to other environmental challenges, as a concern in three key economies of the global North —the UK, the USA, and Germany—may reflect a convergence of environmental concern with economic worries, particularly about the possible impact of energy shortages in the future.
It also highlights the need for those seeking to raise public awareness of environmental issues to demonstrate the link between environmental degradation and people’s own quality of life.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 2, 2011
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.