Two-thirds of Nantucketers surveyed say they are more engaged on issues of climate change and coastal resilience than they were in 2021, according to a report released today by ReMain Nantucket’s Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge team.
(March 31, 2022) by The Inquirer and Mirror
The second in a two-part survey to measure community attitudes about climate change was conducted in January and February, following last year’s Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge’s design studio and community-engagement campaign to showcase opportunities for island residents and businesses to adapt to and live with sea-level rise.
In the second survey, which attracted 679 responses – twice as many as the first survey in early 2021 – 90 percent of Nantucket year-round and seasonal residents said they are alarmed or concerned about climate change, compared to 55% of the U.S. population at large. Three out of four island residents say they are alarmed about rising tides and temperatures. Those numbers reflect a slight increase over 2021.
More than half of survey respondents identified as “somewhat” or “much more” engaged on the issues of coastal resilience, climate change and sea level rise over the last 18 months, citing reasons like weather and storm events, press coverage and community efforts. For those who took both surveys, more than one-third self-identified as “much more engaged.”
“Some respondents noted that they have been observing greater levels of flooding, higher summer temperatures and erosion for many years and for some, even decades,” said Claire Martin, project manager at ReMain Nantucket. “They’ve had to repair roofs and basements following storms. Whether community members are alarmed or dismissive of climate change, by sharing their thoughts they’ve demonstrated that they want to be a part of the conversation and we think that’s a key takeaway of this survey.”
The Town of Nantucket’s Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee contributed questions on awareness and support for the Coastal Resilience Plan released in November 2021. Approximately 60 percent of survey-takers reported having read or reviewed the plan, and more than 70 percent of those surveyed agree or strongly agree with the town’s policy to prepare for approximately nine feet of sea level rise by 2100. Other community actions that received high levels of support include tidal surge barriers using oyster reefs, living shorelines and the use of public rain gardens on Nantucket.
“Results of this second survey confirm that engagement on the important topics of climate and coastal resilience continues to rise,” said Cecil Barron Jensen, executive director of ReMain Nantucket. “We were pleased to find that many respondents are thinking about adaptation and a strong majority are already taking steps to reduce their own contributions to climate change. We hope the results of this survey can serve as a helpful tool as our community considers how to prepare and move forward in the coming years.”
The full report can be found here.