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This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including a new analysis of Americans’ climate justice attitudes and newly released polling on national parks and wildlife.
Humor is the ultimate shock absorber in impossible times. “I Want a Better Catastrophe” is the title of Andrew Boyd’s new guide to coping with escalating climate change. And if you’re anything like us, it fills you with dread and sadness and fear…but does it also make you laugh? Maybe a little? Or maybe right out loud? And notice how your body changes. The light shifts. It suddenly feels a little more doable, a little more possible, to hold the full weight of this crisis we’ve created. To open the book. To start at the beginning. To do the work. The awful, terrifying work. Gen Dread talked to Andrew about where, how, and why he derives humor from such a bleak situation, and what his approach can offer all of us who are trying our best to cope.
Americans across party lines overwhelmingly support measures to better protect wildlife in national parks. 92% of Americans support reducing water pollution to better protect marine wildlife. 84% of Americans support strengthening clean air standards to protect nature and wildlife from air pollution. 65% of Americans recognize that single-use plastics are “extremely” or “very” harmful to wildlife in national parks. 88% of Americans agree that more needs to be done to support the safeguarding of national park wildlife. 86% of Americans support efforts by federal agencies to continue the recovery of threatened and endangered species in national parks. 60% of Americans say that the federal government should ensure that new land development next to national parks doesn’t increase the threat to national park wildlife. 59% of Americans recognize that climate change is “extremely” or “very” harmful to wildlife in national parks.
Demographics who are most inclined to support climate justice are hearing little about the concept. While climate justice is an important issue, many Americans are not yet familiar with it. According to our recent report, only about one in three Americans (34%) say they have heard or read at least “a little” about climate justice, while most (65%) say they have not heard of it. However, after reading a brief description of climate justice, about half of Americans (53%) say they support it, while large majorities of registered voters support climate justice-related policies. The groups who are least likely to know about climate justice include adults in the United States who have a high school education or less (only 10% know “some” or “a lot”), have some college education (13%), earn less than $50,000 per year (12%), are Black (12%), or live in rural areas (13%). Black adults, however, were the group with the highest level of support for climate justice (70%) after reading a description of it. Other demographic groups with high levels of support for climate justice after reading about it included adults in the U.S. who: are Hispanic/Latino(66%), have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (61%), or live in urban areas (61%). Overall, the groups with the largest gaps between having heard about climate justice (prior to reading a description) and supporting climate justice (after reading a description) were Black adults (12% said they know “a lot” or “some” about climate justice while 70% said they support its goals – a difference of 58 percentage points), followed by Hispanic/Latino adults, women, and those earning less than $50,000 per year (each with a difference of 45 percentage points).
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling about fossil fuel accountability, publicly owned utilities, and frontline communities’ vulnerability to extreme weather.
In message testing across 23 countries, our responsibility to future generations consistently ranks as the most compelling rationale for climate action. In this experiment, the narrative focused on protecting future generations produced the biggest lift in support for climate action in every country surveyed. Comparing the level of strong support (5 on a 1-5 scale) for government climate action by the groups exposed to each of these narratives, versus the control group who saw no narrative, reveals the “lift” that each narrative generates. The differences are clear. Averaged across all 23 countries, the generational urgency narrative lifts support by 11 percentage points; polluter accountability lifts support by 7 percentage points; and the climate progress narrative lifts support by just 3 percentage point. The generational urgency narrative is the winning narrative in each country, as well as overall.
Support for fossil fuel accountability spans the political spectrum, as voters widely agree that polluters should pay for their climate damage and pay a tax on their excess profits. More than two-thirds say that expanding clean energy will positively impact the economy. 75% of voters support a tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies. 70% of voters support making polluters pay for climate damages after learning that some cities and states are suing fossil fuel companies for damage from climate disasters. 63% of voters say that CEOs of oil and gas companies have too much power in America’s political system. By a 71%-20% margin, voters say that they are more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who will stand up to oil and gas company CEOs (71%) over a candidate who supports oil and gas company CEOs (20%). 68% of voters say that expanding clean energy production in America will have a positive impact on the economy. By a 58%-34% margin, voters believe that the clean energy industry (58%) is likely to create more new jobs over the next several decades than the oil and gas industry (34%).
Join the Rural Climate Partnership for a presentation on how we can use a benefits-forward narrative strategy to connect with rural people. Together, we'll explore 5 narrative keys that allow communicators to reach across cultural differences and avoid culture war frames to connect on shared values.
Black and Hispanic Americans feel particularly vulnerable to extreme weather, reporting less confidence in their local governments and less preparedness in their communities. Wide majorities of all racial and ethnic groups “agree” or “strongly agree” that they have access to reliable warnings and information about potential natural disasters and that they have someone they can call for help in the event of extreme weather. Still, White Americans exceed both Black and Hispanic Americans by about 10 percentage points on each measure. Between 53% and 56% of Black and Hispanic adults agree they could recover and rebuild, have the resources to do so or have taken steps to prepare their household for a natural disaster or extreme weather event. Meanwhile, between 65% and 72% of White Americans agree across these measures -- indicating their greater degree of preparedness and ability to recover.