By ENRIQUE SAENZ

and BETH EDWARDS

Indiana Environmental Reporter

A new poll indicates that a large majority of Hoosiers believe climate change is happening to some extent and are supportive of measures to address its impact on the state.

Some 80 percent of Hoosiers polled in a survey commissioned by the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University say they believe climate change is happening. Slightly fewer, 65 percent, say they believe in climate change more than they did five years ago.

“I think this survey shows to some degree, that most people are really accepting the reality of climate change, and there is more agreement on the fact we need to have some kind of responses to it,” said James Shanahan, associate director of ERI and dean of The Media School at Indiana University.

Of the 1,002 polled, the majority agreed that flooding is becoming more frequent and potholes are becoming worse because of more severe weather. Seventy percent believe the weather is becoming less predictable.

Along political lines, 66 percent of Hoosier Republicans surveyed believe that climate change is happening either somewhat or to a great extent, compared to 91 percent of Democrats.

Seventy-five percent of those polled said they would support general initiatives designed to prepare Indiana for the effects of climate change, and 60 percent believe climate change is already starting to harm people in the U.S.

“These survey results suggest that Hoosiers know we must act now to protect the environment we have, while we have it,” said Janet McCabe, ERI’s assistant director of policy and implementation and former assistant administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “And as we continue to observe the consequences of a changing climate — such as recent historic flooding or record-setting cold — the challenge is hitting close to home. That’s especially true fora pillar of our state’s economy: our farmers and all of us who depend of them for food.”

ERI will be putting another, more extensive survey into the field this summer that will add further detail about Hoosiers’ thoughts on environmental change.

The survey will give ERI, researchers and citizens more information to help local communities and continue the conversation about environmental resilience around the state.