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Australians On Climate-Related Anxieties

Australians shared their climate-related anxieties 10 years ago in a recently published study. The study found that rural Australians are most concerned about “suffering under climate change.” They were concerned about suffering financially. They were concerned about suffering environmentally. They were concerned about health problems and even social challenges.

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Wildfires in Australia

Credit: NASA

Australians shared their climate-related anxieties 10 years ago in a recently published study. The study, published in January, found that rural Australians are most concerned about “suffering under climate change.” They were concerned about suffering financially. They were concerned about suffering environmentally. They were concerned about health problems and even social challenges.

The survey was sent to 1,810 rural residents in New South Wales, which is Australia’s most populated state. It included two open-ended questions on climate change. The authors of the study analyzed one of the questions: “What is your biggest concern about climate change?”

Out of the 1,810 residents who received the survey, only 1,262 participated. 823 of those completed the open-ended question that was analyzed by the authors of the study. It should be highlighted that this survey was completed in 2010 — an entire decade has passed since the completion of this survey, and between the response collection and the publishing of the report. It shows us the mindset of those residents 10 years ago, not necessarily today. It also seems to foreshadow some events, such as the 2019–2020 Australian bush fires.

Climate-Related Anxieties in Australia

What some of the main findings showed was that “suffering under climate change” was one of the main concerns of the respondents. The reply of one of the respondents: “Personally having to endure higher temperatures as I age without being able to use air conditioning, which is part of [the] problem. I find hot days very difficult.” Another: “In general, I worry about rising costs, especially insurance resulting from more frequent storms and floods.”

Others were worried about extreme events due to climate change. “If all of Australia was affected at one time (i.e., drought plus storm activity), I feel we would be too badly affected, both financially and physically, to cope if it was to become dry again.”

Another worry was the impact on water supplies. “Lack of permanent water supply here and lack of water security in the future. This will have a huge impact on any future growth of the town and district.” One respondent didn’t have any issues. “I have no concern about climate change. It has been happening for thousands of years and it will continue after I am dead and gone.”

Climate change denial has been powerful among people who were influenced — through one medium or another — by anti-science propaganda on that topic. Australia was not immune to the denier wave — and actually seems to be one of the countries most strongly affected by it. However, as noted above, that was before Australia caught on fire to a greater degree than any time in history.

 
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