Comprehensive survey of Southwest Florida residents on impacts of changing climate reveals surprising views.
Climate Change Survey
A coalition of community partners on Wednesday released results of the first comprehensive survey measuring Southwest Florida residents’ views on our changing climate.
As hurricanes, floods and wildfires have increased in number and intensity over the past decade, attitudes around the U.S. have been changing, including right here in Southwest Florida. Survey results found overwhelming support for local action and concrete solutions in response to the changing climate.
“Hurricane Irma was a wake-up call for Southwest Florida,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “As a result, we wanted to evaluate Southwest Floridians’ interest in working toward solutions to make our communities more resilient from intense storms and flooding.”
According to the survey findings, Hurricane Irma, along with recent red tide and toxic algae outbreaks, has the majority of Southwest Floridians deeply concerned about the changing climate. Among survey respondents:
The survey was funded through a partnership between the Community Foundation of Collier County, Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
“The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is committed to cultivating a more sustainable region alongside our public, private and nonprofit partners,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “These partners continue to ask about the impact of climate change on their work, from education and workforce to health and equity. We welcomed the opportunity to provide resources to better understand SWFL residents’ concerns about and interest in mitigating our risks in hopes of finding a path forward together.”
“We need to respond to the community’s concerns related to our changing climate,” said Eileen Connolly- Keesler, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County. “We look forward to working with our partners and community to make climate connections that will protect and preserve our quality of life.”
The survey also noted residents’ strong support for a range of solutions:
Additionally, 78 percent of respondents believe that collectively as a society we can take steps to reduce pollution, and 67 percent say they can personally take action to reduce pollution. Urgency, according to the findings, is critical, with 76 percent saying America needs to act now and 70 percent saying that they personally need to take action now.
“If there is any state whose people should be embracing the impacts of our changing climate, it's Florida. We are the state most at risk for sea level rise than any,” said Congressman Francis Rooney, R-Fla. “This survey proves climate change is an issue important to our voters and there is more we should do to protect ourselves from future impacts.”
The survey was conducted by ecoAmerica and Lake Research Partners in September 2018 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.