U.N. Scientists Latest Report Offers Hope as New Poll Shows Americans Support Natural Infrastructure Solutions to Climate Change
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 5, 2022 — As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on mitigating the impacts of climate change, a new poll from the Walton Family Foundation, in collaboration with Morning Consult, reveals how Americans think about climate change solutions. Specifically, when asked about natural infrastructure, described as the use of naturally occurring landscape features or nature-based solutions that promote, use, restore, or emulate natural ecological features, three-in-four voters (76%) supported the use of natural infrastructure to address climate change.
Natural infrastructure is a bipartisan solution to addressing climate change. At least seven-in-ten Democrats and Republicans nationally support these solutions.
“Climate change is water change. As Americans reckon with the changes in climate that are already underway, we see that voters understand that we need to seek solutions to use the power of nature to help solve problems – and that’s what natural infrastructure is all about,” said Moira Mcdonald, Environment Program Director of the Walton Family Foundation. “Despite political divisions in our country, Americans agree on protecting our planet, and it is time we put this unity into action.”
As leaders from local, state, and federal offices consider how to apply funding made available through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, voters strongly support natural infrastructure solutions, including:
- Shoring up coastline and river communities to better withstand increasingly frequent and intense storms and flooding (80% support);
- Restoring wetlands to mitigate climate impacts including soaking up water from storms and rehydrating landscapes to prevent wildfires (82% support);
- Protecting groundwater supplies to increase available water while also supporting rivers and streams (83%);
- Using floodplains to reduce flooding, and protect communities, farmlands, and wildlife (83%).
Other key findings from the poll include:
- A majority of Americans agree climate change will alter important aspects of life in the U.S. such as agriculture (76% total, 89% Democrats, and 61% Republicans), water resources (76% total, 90% Democrats, and 59% Republicans) and the economy (71% total, 87% Democrats, and 55% Republicans).
- 73% of Americans are worried about climate change and water scarcity, with at least three-in-five voters saying that drought, increased temperatures, wildfires, extreme weather and flooding are a product of climate change’s effect on water resources.
- Black and Hispanic voters expressed more concern about climate change’s impacts on the economy (84% Black, 81% Hispanic, 68% White), health (88% Black, 78% Hispanic, 67% White), and issues around equality (69% Black voters, 62% Hispanic voters, 44% White).
- One-quarter of American voters believe their state will not have enough water during their grandchildren’s lifetimes (the next 100 years). The numbers are even higher in western states - 55% in Colorado said their state would not have enough water in the next 100 years and 53% said the same in Arizona.
To read the full poll results, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org/worldwaterday.
The national poll was conducted between March 4-March 6, 2022 among a sample of 2005 Registered Voters across the United States. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Registered Voters based on gender by age, educational attainment, race, marital status, homeownership, race by educational attainment, 2020 presidential vote, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The state-level polls were conducted between March 4-March 8, 2022, among a sample of 298 Registered Voters in Arizona and a sample of 300 Registered voters in Colorado. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Registered Voters based on gender, age, education, race, ethnicity, marital status, homeownership, and 2020 vote choice. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.