In Research

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Americans Want Their City to Prepare for Summer’s Severe Weather

Summer is nearly here, and Americans nationwide are looking forward to sunny days and outdoor activities. In some areas of the country, however, June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season, or of oppressive, high heat-index days. In the American Climate Perspectives Survey, ecoAmerica and Lake Research Partners explored whether Americans are noticing our changing weather, how they perceive to be impacted by it, and more. Are Americans concerned about climate change? The answer: resoundingly yes (73% say they are concerned), and increasingly so (up 6-points from 2015). The climate is changing in our own backyards, especially during summer, and Americans are noticing. A majority report experiencing impacts from climate change.  They want their city or town to prepare, and believe climate action will improve health.

Consensus: More Severe Weather Is Happening to Us All

Most Americans agree that the weather is not what it used to be. Summertime fun is increasingly interrupted by more extreme weather due to climate change. While the Midwest suffers from one of the worst floods in a century, ecoAmerica found they are not alone. Over four in five (81%) say they are noticing more severe weather or changing seasonal weather patterns where they live over the last few years. There has been a 10-point increase in this awareness since 2015, when 71% of said they were noticing.

Most Americans are Experiencing Weather-Related Impacts, Right Now

At least three in five Americans are reporting being personally affected by more extreme weather. 60% are experiencing record heat waves, which can cause heat strokes and dehydration. Half (49%) are affected by more frequent extreme weather, and by severe droughts. And, nearly half (45%) say they are experiencing increased rates of breathing problems, such as asthma.

Some Americans are Feeling Climate Impacts More, Including Those Often-Marginalized

While many Americans are feeling the impacts of climate change personally, there are particular groups of Americans who report higher levels of impacts, including African Americans, Latinxs, Women, and people who live in cities (urbanites). Many in these groups are from marginalized communities. Climate change is, therefore, having a compounding effect on their health, equity, finances, communities, and wellbeing.

Americans Understand that Harm from Climate Change will get Personal

Americans are aware that climate change is no longer a remote or abstract issue. While certain location and distance biases exist, they are beginning to understand that climate change will harm their community (61% agree), family (56%), and themselves personally (53%).

Climate Action Improves Health, and Americans Want Their Towns to Prepare for Climate

Americans are understanding that climate action will ease health impacts and improve wellbeing, with two in three (66%) believing so. Seeing changing weather, feeling it for themselves, and believing it will hit home, motivates their desire to ask their city or town to prepare this summer. Three in four Americans (76%) say they want their city or town to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

 

 

Full data is available in the accompanying toplines.

Methodology

ecoAmerica and Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey, which was conducted online September 14-18th, 2018. The survey yielded a total of 800 adult responses. The sample was drawn from an online panel and the respondents were screened to ensure that they were over the age of 18.  The national sample was weighted slightly by region, age, race, and education. The margin of error for the sample is +/-3.5%. In interpreting the survey results, it is important to note that all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error. Thus, the results of a survey may differ from the results that would be obtained if the entire population was interviewed. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of the responses to a particular question. For example, if 50% of the respondents in a sample of 802 respondents answered, “Yes” to a particular question, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage would fall within 3.5 points, or range from 46.5% to 53.5%.

Suggested Citation

Speiser, M., Kobayashi, N., Gutierrez, M., Lake, C., and Voss, J.  (2019). American Climate Perspectives Survey 2019, Vol IV: Mothers Know Best: Our Moral Obligation on Climate Change. ecoAmerica and Lake Research Partners. Washington, DC.
© 2019 ecoAmerica.  The contents of this report may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

For more information contact us at research@ecoAmerica.org

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