Last year, I got a call from Randy Kramer from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He was teaching a graduate-level survey design class and wanted to know if your cooperative had a social science question that’d be a good project for a team of students from that class to take on. It was perfect timing since part of the South Atlantic indicator revision process involves testing how well different indicators resonate with the America public. I suggested the students take on that question and Randy thought it’d work really well. Turns out he was right.
I’ve been working with the students ever since and now the results are in. They surveyed (in person) more than a 100 people from diverse backgrounds in central and coastal NC to understand their environmental knowledge, issues they cared most about, and response to different types of ecosystem indicators.
The results are really interesting. The major surprises for me were: 1) The level of concern for air quality (slightly above even water quality), 2) Broad knowledge of the term “environmental indicators” (~70% very or somewhat familiar), and 3) People did not favor charismatic species over broader measures of ecosystem health.
What surprised you about the results?