Americans Ready to Act to Sustain Oceans; Kids Know and Care Most 12/18/09
| Marilyn Sigman, Alaska SeaGrant/MAP
Tags: Communicating about Climate Change, Ocean and Climate Literacy
The Ocean Project released the results of 2009 surveys of American awareness, attitudes, and behaviors concerning the ocean, climate change, and related environmental issues and compared them to similar surveys they conducted in 1999.
Some of the key findings:
1. Similar to 10 years ago, Americans’ awareness related to the ocean remains low, and concern about environmental issues affecting the ocean is low compared to concern about issues such as the economy and national security.
2. Despite their low levels of ocean literacy and lack of a sense of urgency, when asked, Americans say they support protecting the health of the ocean and the environment.
3. Climate change is the environmental issue of most concern to the public. However, the public does not associate climate change and carbon pollution with ocean health.
4. In a shift from views expressed in the 1999 survey, Americans now believe that their individual actions can have a positive effect on protecting the environment and improving the health of the ocean. They are ready to act but are not sure what to do.
5. Young people (aged 12-17) know and care more about ocean and other environmental issues, and they are more willing to act than adults; furthermore, they influence the opinions of adults, who tend to view their children as better informed on conservation issues.
6. Americans in households where English is not the primary language express significantly higher levels of concern about ocean issues and are more willing to modify their behavior than Americans in households where English is the primary language.
7. The for-profit corporate world is out-communicating conservation-oriented organizations about ocean and environmental issues by a wide margin, and most of this communication is occurring on the Internet. The public, especially younger generations, prefers to get information about environmental issues from the Internet.
More of the study findings and discussion of their implications for outreach and education