Don't watch tv (other than movies from netflix) so my only contact with mainstream media is cnn.com and the drudgereport.com both taken with a grain of salt but the following is what I see via communications with people both on the island and mainland.
"The economy will recover as soon as the damn liberals get kicked out of office" (pure hopeium in some R/D dynamic being the solution) combined with a small following to the "go green" mantra ("I'm about sustainability, see I have a prius" as they walk into their climate controlled house, switch on the 60" flat screen, and grab a can of soda flavored chemicals out of their 10 cu foot refrigerator).
One of my monthly tasks at work is to publish a small business journal (advertising machine for the local real estate/insurance agencies mostly) for a small town in southern california (small which is the same population as this whole island lol). All the realtors (realtards?) are publishing articles about how home sales are improving, light at the end of the tunnel etc (while Zillow is showing in the same area that 50 - 70% of the houses are underwater with some as much as 200%). I'm not sure if it's propaganda, they feel it's the truth or what but it's easy to find the facts to counteract their impressions. My boss in the same area says all the sales are cash investors scooping up the repos (consolidation of wealth). She's cut back going out for dinner from 7 days a week to 3 or 4, so that's going green right?
Local forum had a thread about a new shopping center. Speculation/hopes were a toss up between Taco Bell or Dairy Queen being the best thing to arrive...
Had a BBQ over the weekend, and some UHH students came over. My friend in the group is very much the "live in a tent in the jungle and grow taro" to save the planet type. He's a great guy but I think there is some disconnect between what is possible on an individual level and what is realistic for a society. He had a couple friends that had recently arrived on the island (3 or 4 months) to go to school. In discussing solar I said it works great for providing power to a single residence in a sub tropical sun rich location but is not money efficient yet to support a manufacturing base in the North East US or other climate location. Their response was that we don't need all the manufacturing, we should all live in the jungle and live off the land. I was nice since it was a nice bbq gathering and didn't point out their nice clothes, new car or iphone. In general I realize that they are young and idealistic but I think there is a strong disconnect on what works in the real world vs a solution for a single person. And I hear a lot of their ideas but then it doesn't go past sitting in a fire circle and talking about it. (and it may be just that middle age grumpiness at youth wasting all their opportunities like every other generation lol).
I know a lot of people on here are focused on peak commodities (oil, clean water, clean air, clean soil, food etc) which is the correct thing to be focused on but I think the driving factor will be economics. As long as oil is cheap, toys are cheap, and .gov can continue to get a new credit card each month to give the masses their bread and coliseum games there will be little change in the general public's perspective. Unfortunately due to loss of necessary skills, no capitalization for tools/supplies, and lack of planning it will be too late when that switch happens.