Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Americans' knowledge of polar regions up, but not their concern

Date:
February 7, 2012
Source:
University of New Hampshire
Summary:
Americans’ knowledge of facts about the polar regions of the globe has increased since 2006, but this increase in knowledge has not translated into more concern about changing polar environments, according to new research.

Americans' knowledge of facts about the polar regions of the globe has increased since 2006, but this increase in knowledge has not translated into more concern about changing polar environments, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

Related Articles


"People's knowledge of polar regions and issues improved from 2006 to 2010, consistent with hopes that the International Polar Year in 2007 would boost public awareness. Unfortunately, we did not see a companion increase in concern about the environmental changes in these regions, due, in part, to ideological and political divisions," said Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at UNH and a senior fellow at the Carsey Institute.

Carsey Institute researchers, with support from the National Science Foundation, conducted the first comparative analysis of queries about the polar regions, which were included on the General Social Survey in 2006 and 2010. The polar questions covered topics such as climate change, melting ice, rising sea levels, and human or ecological impacts from environmental change. The surveys formed bookends to the International Polar Year in 2007-2008, which focused on scientific research along with outreach and education efforts to raise awareness of polar science.

The researchers found that the public's knowledge about the north and south polar regions showed modest gains between 2006 and 2010. The average "polar knowledge score" improved from 53 to 59 percent.

The surveys also carried an 11-question "science literacy" quiz, testing background knowledge about science. Science literacy did not improve from 2006 to 2010, but people with higher science literacy tend to care more about polar environmental change. More scientifically literate respondents also are more likely to favor reserving the Antarctic for science, rather than opening it to commercial development.

Unlike polar knowledge, concern about climate change in the polar regions showed no up or down trend, and there were no changes in support for reserving the Antarctic for science. However, the researchers found there has been an increase in political disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on climate-related questions.

"Among the environment-related issues, all but reserving Antarctica for science show increasing political polarization -- and even support for reserving the Antarctic divides along party lines. Polar issues, like many other topics in science, increasingly are viewed by the public through politically tinted glasses," Hamilton said.

The complete Carsey Institute report about this research is available at http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/CarseySearch/search.php?id=183. The research was conducted by Hamilton, Matthew Cutler, graduate student in sociology, and Andrew Schaefer, graduate student in sociology and a research assistant at the Carsey Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New Hampshire. "Americans' knowledge of polar regions up, but not their concern." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207121930.htm>.
University of New Hampshire. (2012, February 7). Americans' knowledge of polar regions up, but not their concern. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207121930.htm
University of New Hampshire. "Americans' knowledge of polar regions up, but not their concern." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207121930.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Voice-Controlled GPS Helmet to Help Bikers

Voice-Controlled GPS Helmet to Help Bikers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Motorcyclists will no longer have to rely on maps or GPS systems, both of which require riders to take their eyes off the road, once a new Russian smart helmet goes on sale this summer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kashmir Mops Up After Heavy Flooding

Kashmir Mops Up After Heavy Flooding

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The clean-up operation is in full swing in Indian Kashmir after heavy rain triggered flooding around the mountainous region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brush Fire Threatens California Buildings

Brush Fire Threatens California Buildings

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 31, 2015) A brush fire with zero containment burns in Apple Valley California, threatening over 100 structures and forcing the evacuation of local residents. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Threatened by Washington Landslide

Raw: Homes Threatened by Washington Landslide

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) The city of Des Moines, Washington says it could be weeks before a landslide that damaged several homes settles, according to KOMO. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins