$1 Million or Clean Water for the World: Which Would You Choose?

Published on September 12th, 2011 | by


It’s good to know that Americans still have a sense of altruism, as a recent poll revealed.  When asked which they would choose, 35 percent of those polled responded they would choose clean water for the world over one million dollars.  Other environmental emergencies did not fare so well and the margin was not that great, but at least greed did not prevail.

The poll was part of a national campaign called Wasting Water is Weird.  The idea behind it is that Americans don’t need simple awareness on the issue, but they need to change the way they feel about wasting water.  “This campaign is designed to make people think – or better yet, to cringe when they find themselves wasting water.”  I cringe when I see recycling in a trash can, or maybe the cringing is from knowing I have to stick my hand in the garbage to remove it.

Other results of the poll:

The survey asked Americans: “If you could only choose one of these, would you rather…” and then gave a list of choices. The results:

  • 35 percent chose “ensure the entire world has clean water.”
  • 28 percent selected “be given $1 million.”
  • 17 percent picked “single-handedly stop global warming.”
  • 11 percent chose “save the world’s rainforests.”
  • 9 percent selected “save the world’s endangered species.”

Polls with questions like these are sort of silly, as they have no basis for reality.  They are for fun and do reflect priorities and public opinion to some degree, but neither option is really a choice an individual citizen can make.

This campaign has the backing of the EPA, as well as big players in the industry.  Will it change American’s water use habits?  I don’t know.  It’s kind of weird.


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