‘They Talk about the Weather, but No One Does Anything about It’: A Mixed-Methods Study of Everyday Climate Change Conversations

Carl A. Latkin, Lauren Dayton, Abigail Winiker, Kennedy Countess, Zoé Mistrale Hendrickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding everyday conversations about climate change may provide insights into framing the issue to promote climate change action. As part of a longitudinal online study in the US launched in June 2021, 805 respondents were asked if they had discussed climate change with a friend or family member in the prior month; if not, why not, and if yes, they were asked to delineate the conversation topic. Concurrent mixed methods were used to analyze the data. The majority (62.6%) of respondents reported not having a conversation about climate change in the prior month. Among those who indicated that they had discussed climate change, five themes were identified from the conversation topics, with many having reported discussing the impact of climate change on weather patterns. Very few discussed actions to address climate change, and most of these discussions focused on individual-level behaviors rather than collective actions. Among participants who had not recently discussed climate change, the most prevalent theme was that it was not a priority or an issue they cared about. Results suggest that conversations may not lead to collective actions and that policymakers and environmental organizations should provide guidance on effectively channeling climate change concerns into action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number279
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • activism
  • barriers
  • climate change
  • collective action
  • communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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