Climate scientists have proposed that many people have not yet felt the results of climate change. This explains, at least in part, why some people are so unmotivated to make changes to mitigate climate change. Yet, a range of studies focused on other types of weather-related anticipated and experienced disasters, such as drought, clearly demonstrate that climate-related phenomena can elicit strong emotional reactions. Using a combination of open-ended interview questions and close-ended survey questions, the authors conducted semistructured interviews in three biophysically vulnerable communities (Mobile, Alabama; Kodiak, Alaska; and Phoenix, Arizona). The relatively high number of respondents who expressed sadness and worry at the possible outcomes of climate change indicates emotional awareness, even among climate change skeptics. The patterns were significantly gendered, with men across the three sites less likely to indicate hope. Results suggest that emotional aspects of climate change might provide an entry point for rallying vulnerable U.S. communities to consider mitigation efforts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Atmospheric Science