Study finds 2/3 of Californians prepared to make big lifestyle changes to help fight climate change.
Climate change, or global warming, is a hot topic. We are all aware there are certain things we could be doing to help alleviate the issue, but how much would we actually be prepared to do? Santa Cruz-based Solar installation company, Sandbar Solar, polled 3,500 Americans to gauge if they would be prepared to make significant lifestyle changes, such as eating less meat or driving their cars less, if it helped to stop, slow or reverse global climate change.
Overall, just over half – 52% – of people said they would make significant lifestyle changes, though when broken down by gender, only 44% of men would be prepared to, compared to 59% of women. And when the results were broken down by state, those least willing to make changes were in Kansas (only 28%) – though it could be that those in rural communities have more limited options to help the planet (such as fewer vegetarian or vegan restaurants), and they probably rely more heavily on big gas guzzlers to get around.
Unsurprisingly, it was revealed that those more determined to make changes are in California (64%); proud to be known as a more progressive state, Californians have always embraced alternative lifestyles, such as veganism and the legalization of marijuana. In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law which mandates that the state obtain all of its electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2045. He also issued an executive order calling for the entire California economy to become carbon-neutral by 2045. Californians have unfortunately had to bear witness to the effects of global warming, with many experts attributing it to the recent forest fires.
To see how each state compares, check out Sandbar Solar’s interactive map: https://www.sandbarsolar.com/news/fighting-climate-change/ (click on ‘embed’ to host).
When asked specifically about what lifestyle changes they would make, a significant 43% of respondents say they would consider cutting down on meat (perhaps surprising for a country which lays claim to inventing the hamburger), and 71% would consider driving their cars less.
Encouragingly, two thirds (66%) of respondents said they try to cut down on their energy use, such as turning off lights when not being used and powering down their computers after work etc. And 65% of Americans say they take measures to lower water usage (such as turning off the tap when brushing teeth). 84% also say they try to reduce their use of plastic in every day life.
However, there seems to be a fair deal of misunderstanding around the topic, too: 58% of people did not correctly identify the scientific community’s widely-assumed causes of global warming (farming, burning fossil fuels and deforestation). Instead, 44% think it is due to cyclical weather patterns, 7% think the sun is getting hotter and 7% think the earth is moving closer to the sun.
Lastly, 66% of people have never researched how they could save on bills by using alternative sources of energy.
“Solar energy reduces global demand for fossil fuels and makes it easier for people to shrink their carbon footprints. There are many incentives and financing options available for homeowners to help them make the switch to solar”, says Scott Laskey, President, Sandbar Solar.