(UPI, 7 February 2012) -- DURHAM, N.H. - Americans' knowledge of the world's polar regions has increased since 2006 but has not translated into more concern about polar environments, a study has found. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire conducted an analysis of queries about the polar regions which were included on the General Social Survey in 2006 and 2010 and covered topics such as climate change, melting ice, rising sea levels, and human or ecological impacts from environmental change.
"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," UNH sociology professor Lawrence Hamilton said in a university release Tuesday. "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."
While 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, the researchers said 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," Hamilton said. "Polar issues, like many other topics in science, increasingly are viewed by the public through politically tinted glasses," he said.
Posted by Amanda Graham – 13 February 2012; 11:04:46 PM – Permalink
Tagged: Education and outreach, News