Climate change Exploring Public Opinion
To complete this task you will need to use the resources on this website:
https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/ Links to an external site.
You may want to spend some time playing around with the website before starting the activity. Some things to know about the website.
Use the drop down arrow next to “Select Question” to explore some of the topics this group has collected public opinion data on. You will see that the questions are organized into Beliefs, Risk Perceptions, Policy Support, and Behaviors.
You can select a state or a county to focus on.
To the left you can change the unit of measure from national to states, congressional districts, metro areas, and counties. The default is set to counties. This setting makes it easiest to see estimations across the nation.
To the right of the US map, you will see a legend for making sense of the different colors. Starting with blue and moving to red, the changes in color depict an increase or decrease in percentage points. Set the question to “Global warming is happening” and hover your mouse over Dane CO., WI. It appears a red at 80% agreement with the statement. If 0% agreed with the statement it would appear as darkest blue.
Below the map are the estimates for each question boiled down into “Yes” or “No” responses. These represent national averages. For example, under “Beliefs” you can see that 72% of Americans believe global warming is happening and 14% don’t believe it is happening. You can see these average depicted in this form for each question in the drop down menu.
It will take some time to become familiar with this resource, this is why you are only asked to complete this activity (along with the reading) for our first Lesson Plan. You will not be able to complete this activity correctly if you try to whip through it without taking the time to get familiar with the site.
Once you become acquainted with the site, you are ready to work on the activity.
The first thing to know about this activity is it requires you to be creative. You are asked to imagine you belong to an organization of activists and experts working to address the social problem of climate change and then prepare a sort of “rebranding” for your organization’s outreach efforts. There are many, many ‘right” ways to go about this and, as long as you are being creative, thoughtful, and following instructions, there are very few “wrong” ways to go about this activity.
You work at End Climate Change NOW! and you have recently been assigned to a taskforce whose goal it is to increase public engagement on the issue of global warming and bring about policies that will address climate change. In recent years, you’ve had a hard time gaining support from the public and policymakers. You have been tasked with the job of sifting through public opinion data related to the climate crisis so you can provide valuable information to your organization’s public relations and policy team. Since public engagement has been decreasing lately (in this alternate universe!), you need to identify areas of concern or interest that your organization can use to increase public support for the cause (i.e., attract volunteers, rally voters/organizers, convince people to make donations, etc.) and demonstrate support for action to policy makers.
First, look through some of the data on the Yale Climate Opinion Map and ask yourselves these questions (you will probably want to take notes on information that stands out to you!): what do people think/believe about global warming? what are their fears? who are they worried about (i.e., what are their risk perceptions)? what do they seem to value? what do they think needs to be done and how does that relate to other patterns we’re seeing in the data?
Create a “rebranding plan” for the public relations and policy teams. This plan will help your organization achieve its goal of educating the public and garnering support for policies to end global warming. Your plan should:
Incorporate data from the PEW article
Have a title that communicates your ideas about what the public relations team should do to increase support for environmental efforts
Outline what you think are the most important things for your public relations team to know (in regard to public opinion and as it relates to your plan!)
Propose a way to increase support for climate-related efforts in areas where support is low.
Offer guidance to the policy team on what the public would support or oppose in relation to your plan.
do not just point to the survey question and say “the public wants climate change taught in schools!.” Look at multiple data points: identify relevant patterns and be mindful of the Behaviors, Risk Perceptions, and Beliefs. Combine your observations to suggest creative solutions to the problem of decreasing engagement with the climate change movement!
Remember, it is your goal to draw in public support and support from policymakers. The har
Climate change Exploring Public Opinion