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New Trudeau Foundation survey on environmental issues
The Environics Institute has partnered with the Trudeau Foundation and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM).on a new naitonal survey on people and their natural environment, in conjunction with the Foundation's 10th annual policy conference (Montreal, Nov 21-23, 2013).
- It is broadly assumed that Canadian’s concerns about environmental issues such as climate change are real but secondary to more pressing worries about the economy and jobs. Results from this survey find this to be the case with respect to what the public sees as the top problems facing the country today. At the same time, environmental concerns emerge as the most salient public priority (ahead of the economy and jobs) when the focus is on future challenges to Canada that can and need to be addressed.
- In terms of what poses the greatest threat to the environment in Canada, the public is more likely to point a finger at industry (which manufactures products and waste that pollute) than at consumers (who purchase, consume and dispose of what industry produces). Since 2010, Canadians are less likely to place the culpability on themselves as consumers, and more likely to view the responsibility as equally shared by consumers and industry.
- Nine in ten Canadians believe that environmental pollution affects their own personal health at some level, but a declining minority (now one in six) feel these effects are significant. This group is most likely to include the most vulnerable segments of the population (e.g., low income earners and immigrants)
- Canadians believe that air pollution is by far the most salient form of environmental risk to the public’s health, followed by water pollution, climate change and toxic chemicals. About half of Canadians believe air pollution, chemical pollution and pesticides in food represent major risks to public health, and one-third place climate change in this category. These environmental threats are seen as less likely to pose a major risk than such lifestyle hazards as obesity and heart disease, but more serious than weather-related hazards associated with major flooding, heat waves and extreme cold weather, or the hazards associated with pandemic flu epidemics and tap water.