It's not easy ... 

Street Smarts

Between the BP oil spill, the Japanese earthquake and troubles associated with cap-and-trade legislation, the last year hasn't been great for the environment. Was it just a small step back, or an indicator of something more worrisome?

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Keith Hankins of Black Forest is a veterinary technician

Is the green movement gaining steam or petering out? It's petering out. They're cutting [Environmental Protection Agency] funding. People are more concerned about their personal income than our long-term survival.

Who's to blame? Education. Ecology is not taught enough in schools.

Name one thing we could do, realistically, to make a difference in this area. More recycling. I just returned from living in Europe for 10 years, where they have aggressive recycling programs. There's nothing like that here.

What's your biggest ecological worry? Every water system in America is polluted in some way. Locally, the fracking program being proposed uses 30 to 40 chemicals, any one of which could get into the aquifer — water that's been there for 10,000 years.

Who's crazier: the 2012 people or the Rapture people? They're both "touched" and a little fixated.

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Shana McCarty of the Old North End is a Montessori teacher

Is the green movement healthy or ailing? It was on the rise throughout the 1990s, but it's lost steam in the U.S. More people are behind it internationally then ever before, though, so there's hope.

What's to blame for its decline? Consumerism. People choosing convenience over responsibility.

Name something realistic we could do to make a difference. More subsidies for solar energy. Every home in Colorado should go solar.

Name the worst-ever eco disaster. The BP oil spill. I couldn't even watch the news.

Who is crazier: the 2012 people or the Rapture people? The Rapture folks. They really do believe we're in the end time.

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Alden Bentley of Montclair, N.J., is a journalist

Why are conservatives so hostile to environmental regulation? They philosophically oppose anything that restricts the rights of business to exploit resources.

Has environmental degradation affected you personally? I have medical issues that may be tied to toxins in the air.

What's the worst-ever ecological disaster? Krakatoa, maybe, or maybe Chernobyl, or maybe what's happening in Japan.

Name the best-ever ecological disaster movie. The China Syndrome was pretty prescient, given what happened at Three Mile Island around the same time.


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