Puget Sound perceptions of environmental and climate change

A summary report on perceptions of environmental and climate change based on the 2022 human wellbeing Vital Sign survey. This research was funded by the Puget Sound Partnership and led by members in Oregon State University’s Human Dimensions Lab.

Person standing on a paddle board with the Seattle skyline in the background.
Report cover image

Executive summary

This report covers perceptions of environmental and climate change results from the 2022 human wellbeing Vital Sign survey, administered in December, 2022. The survey response rate was 20.8%.

Environmental impacts were felt by about 25% of residents, with flooded or eroded roadways being the most common (25%), followed by natural disasters (19%).

Roughly, 80% of respondents reported some level of concern for environmental impacts affecting Puget Sound. The highest level of concern was reported for more frequent/severe wildfires and smoke followed by worsening air quality.

The most consistently accessible climate adaptation resource, meaning survey participants reported “always” having access to it, is health insurance (87%), followed by an operable motor vehicle (87%). The least consistently accessed resources were wildfire and flood insurance yet those options also had the highest responses for those resources being unnecessary in their daily life.

Belief in climate change was 85%, higher than the national average (72%) and Washington State’s average (75%). Of those that believe in climate change, the majority attribute it to “mostly human activity and some natural changes in the environment.”

Nearly 32% of participants identify as being “somewhat empowered” or “empowered” in their individual ability to adapt to climate change.

View the full report (pdf)

About the Author: 
Human Dimensions Lab, Oregon State University