This paper addresses factors affecting climate change perceptions and attitudes among Cooperative Extension professionals in the Southeastern United States. Extension serves as a critical link between climate researchers and stakeholders who have the capacity to directly affect climate change impacts through on-the-ground action. We used the Six Americas scale, developed by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication, as the basis for a webbased survey of 2,758 Extension professionals in eight Southeastern states between August 2011 and March 2012. Given their role as science communicators, one might expect Extension professionals to be as concerned as climate scientists about potential climate changes. We found, however, that Extension professionals are similar to the general public and represent the full range of Six Americas categories. Factors correlated with Six Americas results included: gender, political leaning, education, state Extension program, Extension program area, role within Extension, and coastal/inland location. Our results suggest the importance of engaging Extension staff in a long-term professional development strategy that involves improved training and climate education, preparing Extension professionals to effectively communicate climate change information to farmers and forest landowners whose actions impact climate outcomes.
Wojcik, D. J., Monroe, M. C., Adams, D. C., & Plate, R. R. (2014). Message in a Bottleneck? Attitudes and Perceptions of Climate Change in the Cooperative Extension Service in the Southeastern United States. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 2(1), 4. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol2/iss1/4
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