Elizabeth Crisfield, of The Strategic Stewardship Initiative, reviews progress and initiatives in conservation highlighting lessons learned - what works and what doesn't? Please visit our website: www.ssinitiative.com.
Short answer - Americans think that some people in the U.S. may be impacted by global warming. They think that future generations, people in developing countries, plants and animals will definitely be affected by global warming.
But they don't think that they, personally, will be affected.
In Pennsylvania, 53% of us think that we will feel the effects of climate change "little or not at all".
Sell the skis, turn up the A.C. - it's all good.
These maps are inspiring me to turn up the volume on climate communications. People need to understand the socio-economic implications of the changes that will be all too real, even for those of us who may be buffered from temperature and precipitation shifts.
50% of Americans think global warming will harm them personally:
But these opinions flip around when we start asking if someone else will be harmed. 58% of Americans think someone else in the U.S. will be harmed by global warming - just not them or their neighbors.
And future generations? Absolutely, those poor people are definitely going to be harmed by global warming. 70% of Americans think this. (Incidentally, the map of opinion about harm to plants and animals is almost the same as this one about future generations.)
I just found the Yale Climate Opinion Maps. (Peter Howe, Matto Mildenberger, Jennifer Marlon, and Anthony Leiserowitz) (Some of my connections will recognize Peter Howe, PhD in Geography from Penn State.)
What a resource this map is! It is so helpful to hold a mirror up to the country and show us what we think!
The first data visualization you'll see when you go to the website is the Estimated % of adults who think global warming is happening:
[On the website you can select different model outputs, you can view the "absolute value" (shown here) or the difference from national average. You can zoom in to a state, or change the basis of granularity of this map - to congressional districts, for example.]
So... Clearly, in almost every county of the United States, more than 50% of the adults are somewhat convinced that climate change/global warming IS HAPPENING. And while some are uncertain, very few disagree.
But now, let's look at how many people are worried about it. Uh oh. A lot fewer. They're thinking: Happening, yes - but, whatever.
The interactive website lets you explore so many variants on these climate change opinions... but I'll leave you with one more.
Well, shoot! Maybe people would be more worried about it, and more willing to act on it, IF THEY WERE EVEN TALKING ABOUT IT!
And this is where we come in. Because we can all talk about it. More often. With our parents, our kids, our friends, our neighbors. Put a sign in the lawn? Invite a climate speaker to come to your church?
I'm pretty sure that if we changed that last map, all the others would change too and we'd be on our way to solving this crisis at every scale.