Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

Georgia Climate Project: How do perceptions about climate change vary across Georgia?

I give talks to a lot of different groups around the state, and find that some groups have very different opinions about climate and climate change than others do. It depends on many things, including how old you are, how and what you produce on your farm, and what your political views are. When you are discussing the trends we have already seen in climate over the last 100 years or so and what might happen in the future, it is important to keep in mind that some folks are coming from a different background than others and to acknowledge their life experiences. In the Georgia Climate Project, knowing about the science is not enough. We also need to understand what people believe now and why they do so. That’s the focus of today’s question.

33. How do beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge about climate change and its potential solutions vary across Georgia?

Why this question is important:¬†People’s perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors related to climate change are often influenced by a variety of factors that result in differences of opinions regionally and by demographic groups (Etkin and Ho 2007; Lujala et al. 2015). Early research demonstrated that there were notable regional variations in beliefs within Georgia (Howe et al. 2015), but a more indepth statewide analysis could provide valuable information about how different stakeholder groups perceive climate change and value responses / approaches for addressing it. This information could assist decision makers, scientists, and educators as to the potential effectiveness of public awareness and education campaigns, and to help identify stakeholders most supportive of mitigation solutions and/or adaptation strategies.