Survey reveals growing climate anxiety among U.S. public

A new survey reveals the increasing anxiety and vulnerability felt by the U.S. public in the face of climate change and finds most of them willing to take action to address the impacts.

Conducted in late 2023 and early 2024 by environmental company Veolia North America and research firm Elabe, the survey gathered opinions from 2,000 U.S. adults online and reveals a shift in public sentiment toward the environment.

A sign about extreme heat is posted at the Piestewa Peak trailhead in Phoenix, Arizona, the U.S., June 5, 2024. /CFP

A sign about extreme heat is posted at the Piestewa Peak trailhead in Phoenix, Arizona, the U.S., June 5, 2024. /CFP

The survey results, released on Wednesday, underscore the tangible signs of a changing climate – worsening storms, unpredictable weather patterns, droughts, flooding and other extreme events – contributing to heightened anxiety among Americans.

According to the findings, 61 percent of respondents feel vulnerable to a lower quality of life due to climate change, while 57 percent are concerned about climate-related health risks.

The survey also highlights a growing willingness among Americans to adopt green solutions. While 61 percent of respondents indicated they would be willing to drink recycled wastewater due to water shortages, 74 percent would consume food grown using recycled water.

Additionally, 82 percent of them are prepared to pay more to eliminate micropollutants from their drinking water, and 53 percent are confident that actions can still be taken to reverse the impacts.

Compared to a similar survey conducted by Veolia in 2022, the latest findings demonstrate a growing consensus among the American public in favor of green solutions for climate-related challenges.

The survey indicates a “deepening level of concern and openness to solutions” that may have previously been considered “too extreme,” said Veolia in a press release.

This growing concern is echoed in recent government reports, including the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2023 report by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board. The report found that nearly 20 percent of adults in the country were financially impacted by natural disasters last year, a nearly 50 percent increase from 2022.

“From the latest survey results, we can see that the anxiety and concern that Americans feel about climate change and the dangers it poses to our health and well-being are only growing more pronounced,” said Fred Van Heems, president and CEO of Veolia North America, in a statement.

“At the same time, we see that many Americans remain hopeful that it’s not too late to take steps to reverse these impacts and preserve the planet for our children and future generations – but we need to act,” he said.

(Cover: A billboard shows the current temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix, Arizona, the U.S., June 5, 2024. /CFP)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency