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Citizen surveys look for common ground on environmental issues

Civic Genius/Voice of the People
Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25) taking part in a virtual citizen's forum Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 on energy & the environment.

Energy and the environment were the topics at a citizen’s forum that included Congressman Joe Morelle (D, NY-25) last weekend.

The online session Saturday followed surveys sent out by the organizers of the event which included two nonpartisan organizations, Civic Genius and Voice of the People.

The groups polled residents of the 25th Congressional District on topics that included ways to reduce greenhouse gases, tax credits used to increase energy efficiency, and carbon fees and rebates.

Morelle said that environmental problems pose an existential threat.

"It affects everyone, regardless of your age, ethnicity or even your political persuasion" Morelle said. "Each day that we fail to address it we threaten the long term viability of our planet for future generations."

The results of the survey showed Democrats more strongly in favor of several pollution reduction programs than Republicans, but even so, the gap between people who are registered to those two political parties was not all that wide (see the survey results at the end of this article).

Morelle said it sometimes appears that average citizens are more in tune with the impact of environmental issues than some lawmakers are.

"I think most people, whether it’s the weather in Texas and in the south, or the alarming number of hundred-year storms and events that are happening with far greater frequency, I think the average person just says, how could these things not be related to one another, and for whatever reason, the policymakers haven’t caught up to it," Morelle said.

Among those participating in the forum on Saturday was Rachel, a 19-year-old St. John Fisher College student who says there needs to be more education about the environment in earlier schooling.

“When I was in elementary school, middle school, high school, I heard nothing.  It took until college for me to really here about these issues and I think that’s a major issue in itself and I think that’s why people either don’t believe in climate change, it’s nonexistent or they have these conspiracy theories, because they aren’t educated,” Rachel said.

Here are the results of the survey of residents of the 25th Congressional District on energy and environmental issues: 

Survey Results-NY 25 Energy and Environment by WXXI News on Scribd

For comparative purposes, here are the results of a national survey on energy and environmental issues:

National Survey Results-Energy and Environment by WXXI News on Scribd