Environmental knowledge is inversely associated with climate change anxiety

Environmental knowledge and climate change knowledge appear to be very different understandings. I’d dare to suggest one is reality based and the other is not.


This study tests the hypotheses that overall environmental knowledge and climate-specific knowledge are inversely related to climate change anxiety, such that people who know more (less) about the environment in general, and about climate in particular, are less (more) anxious about climate change. Time lagged data were collected from N = 2,066 individuals in Germany. Results showed that, even after controlling for demographic characteristics, personality characteristics, and environmental attitudes, overall environmental knowledge and climate-specific knowledge were negatively related to climate change anxiety (both B = -.09, p < .001).

This paragraph below is interesting- the sentence in bold suggests the more fear mongering through the media, correlates with an increase in negative emotional response/ anxiety. Awareness of climate change comes largely through media promotion.

The rationale for investigating these relationships is that climate change anxiety may be reduced through interventions that enhance environmental knowledge. Environmental knowledge refers to the body of acquired facts and learned expertise in the environmental domain (including climate; Geiger et al. 2019). Climate change anxiety involves people’s self-reported negative emotional responses associated with their awareness of climate change (Clayton 2020)

Results of regression analyses (see Table 1) showed that overall environmental knowledge negatively predicted climate change anxiety (B = -0.09, p < 0.001), above and beyond the effects of demographics, environmental attitudes, and personality characteristics (see Fig. 1). Thus, Hypothesis 1 was supported: people who possess more (less) overall environmental knowledge experience less (more) climate change anxiety.

In a nutshell the more real world environmental information you have- the less climate anxiety you suffer. Thoughts?

2 replies on “Environmental knowledge is inversely associated with climate change anxiety”

I’m sure that Dr.Goebbels would have agreed that all the really big, effective lies make good use of societal ignorance. Certainly my anecdotal observations of people’s relative environmental knowledge would support the conclusion of the study you cited above. However, ‘ignorance is bliss’ and many people seem more than ready to voluntarily turn off their cognitive reasoning to wrap themselves in the comforting nonsense of what they believe to be the majority opinion. Only to stumble off content to follow like lemmings towards the cliff.

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