A Majority of Americans Believe Climate Change is the Most Important Issue Today

A recent poll by the American Psychological Association  (APA) indicates that a majority of US adults (56%) believe that climate change is the most important issue facing us today. The poll was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the APA in mid-December of 2019. 

Six in ten respondents say they have taken steps to reduct their carbon emissions, with three quarters saying they are very motivated. Nearly 90% have participated in recycling efforts and 78% have invested in renewable energy, buying electricity from renewable energy suppliers or investing in their own systems. On the other hand, while the majority of the people polled said they wish they could do more to combat climate change, 51% said they don’t know where to start. 

Other findings from the poll include increased mental stress – or “eco-anxiety” – about climate change, reported by two-thirds of the respondents. Those most severely affected by emotion stress over climate change are young adults (age 18-34) nearly half of whom reported that stress about climate change was affecting their daily lives. 

When people experience of local climate impacts, such as extreme weather events, their understanding of the effects of climate change increases, the APA found. The most common motivation among those who have taken steps to change their behavior to mitigate climate change is wanting to preserve the planet for future generations.

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