Environmental Issues: What matters and what we can do

Climate change is a topic that has been receiving constant attention in the news and by experts for over a decade. We wanted to explore the general public’s opinion about climate change and what they knew and felt about it. We decided to go out and ask people in DC and the surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia in order to get a more diverse perspective on climate change.

These are the questions we asked anyone who was willing to answer our questions: Does climate change exist? Is climate change caused by human impact? On a scale from one to five, how much does climate change impact your life on a day to day basis? Can you give an example of how climate change affects you? Do you personally do anything to mitigate the effects of climate change? Do you or any of your neighbors have solar panels? Why do you think solar panels are not more popular in your area?

The interviews are a project of the Ecologic Institute summer interns 2015: Christina Ennis, Pauline Feldman and Andrew Staffelbach. Christina Ennis is a student at Virginia Tech majoring in International Studies. She was most surprised by how responses changed depending on where the interviewee was from. Participants from California, Utah, and Nevada felt much more negatively affected by climate change and more willing to take action. Andrew Staffelbach is a graduate student from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington. He was surprised by how informed the citizens were on the subject of climate change. Many knew specific details about how climate change impacts them and what they could do to individually change their behavior to reduce their impact on climate change. Pauline Feldman is a student at Cornell University.

In the video above, you can see the many differing responses we received and the local public’s real opinion regarding the impacts of climate change. Please send us your feedback in the comment window below.