In Research

Climate Attitudes

Our daily news is flooded with stories on the myriad of ways America is divided, causing us to lose sight of our commonality. Climate change is a topic notoriously rife with polarized political viewpoints. But the gaps in opinion and support are narrowing, and alignment on the issue is on the rise. ecoAmerica decided to explore a key factor thought to influence climate attitudes—religion—in the pursuit of common ground.

In our August 2017 American Climate Perspectives Survey, ecoAmerica asked respondents to categorize themselves by religious conviction, finding both common ground and key variances.

Our poll found that over 95% of Americans, spanning religious conviction, agree (78% strongly agree) we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of nature.

While this report unveils an important area of common ground, it also sheds light on rather startling news connecting religious conviction and perspectives on climate change.  ecoAmerica asked participants about both the role of religion in their life and whether they had noticed more severe weather or changing seasonal weather patterns where they live over the last several years. Among the results:
  •  Respondents who selected “religion is the most important part of my life” were less likely to notice the impacts of climate change, often at rates 20 points lower than those who claimed lower or no religious conviction.
  • They were also an average of twice as likely to attribute the impacts of climate change to  “God’s Will” vs. human-caused pollution.

These findings indicate an opportunity for faith leaders to ensure their moral leadership on climate involves education and engagements, to help their congregants make the climate and weather connection, and to reverse the sentiment that belief in climate is at odds with their faith.

 

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