A January 2020 poll taken during Australia’s recent bushfire crisis reveals that the environment is a rising concern and has rocketed up to either number one or two on the list of worries for about half of Aussie voters, up from almost 42% last October.
Conducted by the ANU, the poll found that exposure to the nation’s recent unprecedented bushfires was associated with an increase in whether a person thought the environment was major issue. Around three million adult Australians reported they were directly exposed to the bushfires and more than 15 million reported some form of indirect exposure, such as friends/family losing property or having property threatened, holiday/travel plans being impacted, being exposed to smoke, or feeling worried/anxious. (Count me among the latter.)
The poll also found the greatest drop in support for new coal mines was among Australian adults who voted for the Coalition at last year’s Federal Election – down from 72% support in June 2019 to 57% in January.
Lead researcher Professor Nicholas Biddle says while we already see a shift in views regarding coal mines and the environment, “the big question will be whether these shifts are temporary or permanent”.
This past week, I’m grateful for all those taking practical steps to nurture our planet and to minimise adverse impacts on the environment. As a nation, we can do better.