Just how concerned are americans about climate change?

Photo by Guillaume Falco

A recent survey conducted by CivicScience revealed that 60% of Americans are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about climate change and its impact on the planet. Respondents were also asked questions about their optimism around combatting climate change and lifestyle behaviors that impact sustainability. Responses were mixed when asked about their optimism regarding the ability to combat climate change. Only 1 in 10 of the 202,924 respondents strongly agreed that they felt optimistic, while 20% somewhat agreed. A significant portion, 35%, neither agreed nor disagreed, indicating uncertainty. On the other end of the spectrum, just over one-third somewhat or strongly disagreed, reflecting a notable level of pessimism.

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Lifestyle adjustments for climate change
Regarding lifestyle adjustments, nearly one-third of the 1,932,456 respondents said they try to help the environment every chance they get. Another 32% make changes if convenient, while 27% do so occasionally but not often. And 12% admitted they never adjusted their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Interestingly, individuals who express optimism about combating climate change also demonstrate high levels of concern about climate change. Conversely, nearly half of those who strongly pessimistic about our ability to control climate change, admitted they are not concerned about the environment. The data shows a clear trend when examining the relationship between lifestyle adjustments and concern levels. Two-thirds of those who try to help the environment every chance they get are very concerned about climate change. In contrast, nearly two-thirds of those who never adjust their lifestyle are not concerned at all. This highlights a strong link between environmental concern and proactive behavior.

Location and age differences

Residential location also plays a role in these attitudes. Among those who strongly agreed they were optimistic, 40% lived in cities, 33% in suburbs, and 22% in rural areas. Those who somewhat agreed were more likely to live in the suburbs, with 44% falling into this category. Interestingly, those who strongly disagreed were more evenly distributed, with 22% in cities, 42% in suburbs, and 30% in rural areas. Age differences further illuminate these trends. Younger respondents, particularly those aged 18-24, were more likely to strongly agree with the optimistic statement, while older respondents, especially those 65 or older, were more likely to agree somewhat. This suggests that younger individuals may have a more hopeful outlook on combating climate change. Regarding lifestyle adjustments, older respondents were more likely to make changes every chance they get to help with sustainability, with 25% of those 65 or older falling into this category. Younger respondents, particularly those aged 18-24, were more likely to adjust their lifestyle if it was convenient. The survey methodology involved a large sample size, with over 1.9 million respondents for some questions, ensuring a robust dataset. The response rate varied across questions, but the large number of participants provided a comprehensive view of American attitudes toward climate change. Overall, the data paints a picture of a nation grappling with the realities of climate change. While there is a significant level of concern and a willingness to make lifestyle changes, there is also a notable degree of pessimism and inaction.

Climate Crisis 24/7 used generative AI technology to help produce this article, which a human editor at Climate Crisis 24/7 edited. Climate Crisis 24/7 is dedicated to accuracy and transparency; any article that uses AI will be noted.

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