Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Two ‘Varietals’ of Green-Oriented Americans

A new Pew Research Center survey finds some 36% of Americans are deeply concerned about the issue of global climate change. Additionally, two-in-ten Americans try to live out their concern for the environment “all the time.”

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And while some Americans are both “climate engaged” and “everyday environmentalists,” each group has a distinctive profile.

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Most climate-engaged Americans believe the Earth is warming due to human activity. By contrast, everyday environmentalists’ beliefs closely match those of the U.S. population as a whole.

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Americans who care a great deal about climate change are predominantly Democrats or independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, while everyday environmentalists include a mix of Republicans and Democrats that aligns with the share in the overall population.

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The climate-engaged also skew younger, while everyday environmentalists are disproportionately older.

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Both tend to have like-minded friends and family. About half (53%) of those who always try to live in ways that protect the environment all the time and 40% of those who care a great deal about climate change say that most of their close friends and family always try to help the environment. By comparison, 26% of all U.S. adults say the same.

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Despite these differences, both groups of Americans are equally likely as the general public to have spent time hiking, camping, hunting or fishing in the past year; they are also about equally likely to have spent time tending to plants in public parks or other public spaces. And while everyday environmentalists are modestly more likely to have participated in a park clean-up day, they are no more likely than the climate-engaged or other Americans to reduce and reuse at home by composting, having a rain barrel or growing their own vegetables.

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Report: The Politics of Climate

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