Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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Freezing temperatures and skyrocketing energy costs are knocking on our doors again in Texas, and conversations about reliable renewable energy projects are once again emerging. This has us thinking quite a bit this week about what stands in the way of siting and building renewable projects that are now well funded, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. Inevitably we return to the conversation about the role of misinformation.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on a new report from Yale and George Mason’s “Climate Change in the American Mind” study and a new meta-analysis of polls tracing political polarization on climate and environmental issues.
Climate change has significant impacts on health outcomes, and health professionals are uniquely positioned to leverage their voice as trusted messengers to engage their colleagues, patients, and communities to take action and shift the public conversation on climate and health.
This workbook is meant to help you translate the analysis and recommendations we provide there into workable features of your organizing. Whether you’re currently involved in a multiracial, cross-class climate coalition, thinking about starting one, or evaluating a past coalition on reflection, we hope this workbook clarifies for you and your coalition partners the breadth of considerations and decisions you should be prepared for.
Multiracial, cross-class (MRXC) coalition-building is essential if the climate movement is serious about tackling the climate crisis at the scale it demands. However, a historical lack of collaboration, trust, or healthy mechanisms to deal with conflict often impair those efforts. This Blueprint report and accompanying workbook provide an analysis of the difficulties MRXC climate coalitions are likely to face and offer recommendations for a proposed path forward.
The steady majority of Americans recognize that humans are causing global warming, and nearly half say that they’ve been personally impacted. Americans also tend to believe that global warming is affecting the weather, especially in the cases of extreme heat, droughts, and wildfires. Americans who recognize that global warming is happening outnumber those who deny that it’s happening by a greater than four-to-one margin (70% to 16%). 63% of Americans say they feel a personal sense of responsibility to help reduce global warming. Three in five Americans (60%) recognize that global warming is affecting weather in the United States; when asked about specific types of extreme weather, more than two-thirds agree that global warming is affecting extreme heat (70%), droughts (70%), wildfires (70%), and water shortages (68%). Nearly three in five Americans (58%) recognize that global warming is mostly caused by humans.
Americans’ climate attitudes are continuing to grow more polarized, but bipartisan majorities support clean energy and conservation efforts. 79% of voters support funding more research into renewable energy sources. 79% of voters support generating renewable energy on public lands. 68% of voters support increasing federal funding to low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately harmed by air and water pollution. 66% of voters support transitioning the U.S. economy from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050. 65% of voters say that developing sources of clean energy should be a “high” or “very high” priority for the president and Congress. 62% of voters support requiring electric utilities to produce 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035. 55% of voters support a U.S. president declaring global warming a national emergency if Congress does not take further action.
When people speak up and work together, they can spur powerful changes. Research and history suggest that local action is more powerful than many people realize. First, much of the policy change that can affect climate change is local rather than national. Second, local wins can become contagious. Third, local action can trigger national policy, spread to other countries and ultimately trigger global agreements. Yet, while 70% of American adults describe climate change as an important concern, only 10% say they volunteered for an activity focused on addressing climate change or contacted an elected official about it in the previous year. Polls show some people see how money from wealthy industries and individuals influences politicians and don’t believe politicians listen to the public, and others are distracted by arguments that can tamp down engagement, such as campaigns that urge people to focus on individual recycling, or ask why the U.S. should do more if other countries aren’t. A description of the book on which these argument are based can be found here: https://aronclimatecrisis.net/
Parenthood may be a helpful frame to motivate people to take climate action, but it's understudied as a mechanism that may influence climate change-relevant behavior. This resource reviews the existing literature on the role of parenthood as a motivator of environmental engagement (the “green parenthood effect”), focusing particularly on climate change. The literature on the role of parenthood in driving environmental engagement is mixed, due in part to the role of “baseline” individual and group characteristics that lead to different impacts of parenthood on environmental engagement (i.e., people who choose to have kids are already a bit different from those who do not have kids). In addition, there are countervailing impacts of intense time and budget constraints imposed by parenthood. Some studies suggest that parenthood increases pro-environmental engagements, while others find no effects or negative effects. We theorize that potential mediators and moderators need to be taken into account to get a clearer picture of how parenthood influences pro-environmental engagement. We highlight underlying proposed mechanisms that might be activated during the transition to parenthood (i.e., legacy motives, perceived responsibility). For people who are already concerned about climate change, evidence suggests that parenthood could be a strong frame to motivate engagement with climate change, but asking parents, especially those with young children, to take on pro-environmental behaviors that do not have a direct health impact on their own children is unlikely to be an effective strategy.
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