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Retrofitting Tampa Bay for climate change: From understanding to action

As the climate changes, so too do attitudes of people living in Florida.

Today, more than four in five Floridians are very or somewhat concerned about climate change, according to findings recently released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. That reflects a significant jump from last year, when just two in three Floridians answered the same way, according to Leo Ondrovic, one of the survey’s designers.

Drawing on 1,015 online survey responses, plus another 540 from the Sunshine State, the Polling Institute’s latest annual environment survey compares how Floridian’s understanding of climate change and other environmental issues stacks up against that of their national peers.

According to Ondrovic, the new results suggest that Floridians are more concerned about climate change, perhaps in part because specific environmental issues -- like rising sea levels and coastal flooding -- may be more visible here.

“I think it is the everyday man and woman who are acknowledging that changes are occurring, as these are apparent to careful observers,” says Ondrovic, Associate Professor of Biology and Physics at Saint Leo.

About 62 percent of Floridians think climate change is the result of a mix of human and natural factors, according to the poll results. Roughly 19 percent believe humans are entirely to blame, while slightly fewer than 9 percent say climate change is caused by natural causes alone.