As the effects of climate change become more evident, more than half of U.S. adults (56%) say climate change is the most important issue facing society today, yet 4 in 10 have not made any changes in their behavior to reduce their contribution to climate change, according to a new poll by the American Psychological Association.
While 7 in 10 say they wish there were more they could do to combat climate change, 51% of U.S. adults say they don’t know where to start. And as the election race heats up, 62% say they are willing to vote for a candidate because of his or her position on climate change.
People are taking some steps to combat climate change, with 6 in 10 saying they have changed a behavior to reduce their contribution to climate change. Nearly three-quarters (72%) say they are very or somewhat motivated to make changes.
Among those who have already made behavior changes to reduce their contribution to climate change, when asked why they have not done more, 1 in 4 (26%) cite not having the resources, such as time, money or skills, to make changes. Some people are unwilling to make any changes in their behavior to reduce their contribution to climate change. When those who have not changed their behavior were asked if anything would motivate them to reduce their contribution to climate change, 29% said nothing would motivate them to do so.
Concern about climate change may be having an impact on mental health, with more than two-thirds of adults (68%) saying that they have at least a little “eco-anxiety,” defined as any anxiety or worry about climate change and its effects. These effects may be disproportionately having an impact on the country’s youngest adults; nearly half of those age 18-34 (47%) say the stress they feel about climate change affects their daily lives.
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