Public Perceptions of Climate Change Concerned #1 Panel gCORE

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Public Perceptions of Climate Change Concerned #1 Panel gCORE – Fall 2011 Shameka Henson Kara Karboski Kristen Ramsdell Mitch Redfern Amanda Sargent Katie Wolt

Overview Interviewees exhibited “concerned” views towards climate change “Concerned” indivudals . . . are convinced that global warming is a serious problem. support a vigorous national response. have indicated their intention to act upon their concern, but are not as involved as folks in the “Alarmed” category.

Data Collection and Representation Themes and keywords were developed from one another Matrices include Government Action, Information Sources, and Collective Climate Change Understanding Data represents characteristics of the “Concerned” profile in addition to unanticipated attitudes or commentary.

Keywords MAIN GROUP KEYWORDS Climate Change Weather (38) Environment Pollution Science (18) (6) Government Adapt (40) Information (45) OTHER KEYWORDS Skeptical Pattern (33) People City Community

Themes Government Policy Community (local) Media Representations Understandings shallow deep misconceptions Individuals

Information Sources Matrix Information Sources Trusted Not Trusted Least Mentioned TV (1) Computer (1) News Paper (2) Personal Internet (1) Experience/Observation (1) Government Reports (1) Researchers (1), Professors (1), Statistics (1), National Geographic(1), Books(1), Radio(1), Small articles(1), Local Discussions by reliable people (1), "visuals"(1) PBS, NPR, Nature Channel Newspaper/ Daily Olympian (3) Untrustworthy people (1) Internet (1) Most Mentioned Radio (2) Library (1) City Workers/ Public Servants Planning (1) Newspaper (2) Internet (1) TV nature programs(3) Science (2) "the news" (4) Documentaries, Friends/Colleagues, Occupational Newspaper/ Daily Zero Magazine (1) Online (1) Elected officials working towards projects (3)

Government Action Matrix Government Action Most Trusted Least trusted Most Mentioned Flood Control, Cleanup Programs, U.S. Government, City Workers, Public Servants, Economy, Balance, Planning, Federal Government, Government Reports Profession reports General Gov. Action, Gov. Outside U.S., U.S. Government, Japan’s Government, China’s Government, Self Regulation, Elected Officials w/Agendas, Least Mentioned State Government, City Government Fuel Efficiency Standards State Government, Russia’s Government, India’s Government, Political Posturing,

Keywords & Themes Matrix

Surprising Outcomes One subject believed the NW was cooling Changes in the aesthetics of the city were more noticeable than climate to one subject. One person did not mention anything about climate or GHG, only visible pollution One person believed that the more people knew about climate change, the more alarmed they would be but didn’t feel that maybe this warrants further self-education Another subject conversely felt that alarmed people were worried about having to change their lifestyles and didn’t want to admit climate change was coming. They also felt the U.S. was leading the world on better climate change regulations. For another interviewee, the most reliable source of climate change information came from their church. One subject surprisingly had no surprises

Surprising Quotes When asked how community leaders are helping their communities prepare for climate change? My response was “umm I think yeah like umm they try and I from my understanding like some church they give these kind of preparation to show people like umm its kind of, they use other ways like umm just use another term like religion term but they, they give preparation for people.” When invited to share additional comments at end of interview “if you went to some of the really small farming towns over in eastern Washington, you know, they probably wouldn’t talk to you.” When asked the question regarding access to reliable information “people need to be really, really careful and not have the ‘chicken little’ effect” When asked of the same interviewee what they thought when they first heard about climate change “United States seems to be the only ones that are really on top of it [climate change regulations] more than some of the third world countries”

Language Barriers Scientific term Public meaning Better choice enhance improve intensify, increase aerosol spray can tiny atmospheric particle positive trend positive feedback good trend good response, praise upward trend vicious cycle, self-reinforcing cycle theory hunch, speculation scientific understanding uncertainty ignorance range error mistake, wrong, incorrect difference from exact true number bias distortion, political motive offset from an observation values ethics, monetary value numbers, quantity manipulation illicit tampering scientific data processing scheme devious plot systematic plan anomoly abnormal occurrence change from long-term average source Sightline Newsletters&utm campaign b7b88011f5SightlineWeekly&utm medium email

Obstacles to Persuasion Sometimes, even if one acknowledges a lack of understanding about a subject, they appeared to not necessarily be made more alarmed by hearing an expert’s opinion Rrather, if they don’t understand it, they don’t worry about it. Participants also demonstrated a lack of trust in the experts. This sentiment could have a tremendous impact on how many people are willing to make sacrifices to their daily habits to help ameliorate the effects of climate change without government regulating the behaviors. participant seemed uninspired by calls to action for climate change and disinterested in seeking further education, clarification, or insight. Others’ education, especially children’s schooling on climate change, was of greater importance than their own. Different sources of information on the subject would most likely be ignored or receive only mild amounts of attention. Their political outlook on a green movement, however, was moderately optimistic.


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