The Grassroots of a Green Revolution

The Grassroots of a Green Revolution

Polling America on the Environment

By Deborah Lynn Guber





Since the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalism has become woven into the fabric of American life. Concern for environmental quality has influenced how we think, work, and recreate; what we buy; and how we govern. But popular consensus on the environment is more complicated than it appears. The real question is no longer whether Americans side with environmentalism, but the depth of their commitment. This book argues that understanding public opinion, the grassroots of the "green" revolution, is essential to sustaining genuine environmental progress. The long-term success of the environmental movement will be measured not only by its legislative achievements, but by its ability to persuade average citizens to back up their words with action and to further alter their voting patterns, buying habits, and lifestyles.

The Grassroots of a Green Revolution uses polling data from a wide variety of sources to explore the myths, inconsistencies, and tensions that characterize public thinking on environmental issues. The book defines and describes key characteristics of public opinion, including direction, strength, stability, distribution, and consistency, and shows how those qualities influence behavior. The book uses that body of evidence to weigh the significance of environmental concern in U.S. politics and policy and to provide pragmatic advice for decision makers in their efforts to motivate Americans to act in an environmentally responsible way.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262072380 291 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$29.00 X ISBN: 9780262571609 291 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • [T]his book should be read by every student in the field.

    Political Science Quarterly


  • Guber provides the first book-length overview and analysis of the American public's concern for the environment. Her review of existing results is comprehensive, she employs sophisticated methodological techniques for analyzing data, and she consistently draws upon relevant theory when interpreting her findings. The book is a significant contribution.

    Riley E. Dunlap

    Department of Sociology, Oklahoma State University

  • The Grassroots of a Green Revolution uses an array of public opinion polling data to intelligently answer questions important to both analysts of environmental politics and concerned citizens. The book also includes an insightful assessment of the 2000 election.

    Robert Paehlke

    Trent University

  • Guber's book is a welcome addition to our understanding of the interaction between public attitudes and public policy. It is just the kind of work that needs to be done if we are to make sense of our current situation.

    Christopher Bosso

    Department of Political Science, Northeastern University

  • Guber provides a critical look at what public opinion polls have been telling us—or not telling us—about Americans' concern about the environment. How deep and how enduring is this concern, and what difference does it make in our lifestyles, in the voting booth, and in the marketplace? These questions are all examined thoroughly. This book provides the most comprehensive and thought-provoking look at public opinion on the environment to date.

    Paul Mohai

    School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan