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Climate change isn’t a hot topic for Floridians — at least on Twitter

Protestors, demonstrating to raise awareness of climate change, march towards downtown Miami from Jose Marti Park on Saturday, April 29, 2017. A recent analysis of a month’s worth of tweets reveal that Floridians don’t talk about climate change on Twitter anywhere near as much as their counterparts in the Pacific Northwest.
Protestors, demonstrating to raise awareness of climate change, march towards downtown Miami from Jose Marti Park on Saturday, April 29, 2017. A recent analysis of a month’s worth of tweets reveal that Floridians don’t talk about climate change on Twitter anywhere near as much as their counterparts in the Pacific Northwest. adiaz@miamiherald.com

With the ocean waves proverbially lapping at their feet, you’d think the warming of the planet would be a hotter topic for Floridians on Twitter. Not so, a new analysis shows.

Southeast residents, in general, don’t tweet about climate change nearly as much as their counterparts in the Pacific Northwest — or even Alaskans, the map shows.

The one-month study of just over a million geotagged tweets reflects the percentage of total state tweets that either used the phrase or hashtag climate change. The analysis (done via Trendmaps and CartoDB software) was commissioned by the Nicaraguan-based company Thunderbomb Surf.

climatemap
An analysis of a month’s worth of tweets reveal that Floridians don’t talk about climate change on Twitter anywhere near as much as their counterparts in the Pacific Northwest. Thunderbomb Surf

The percentage breakdown shows that other states are leagues ahead of Florida in terms of climate-related tweets. Only 1 percent of Sunshine State residents’ tweets were climate-change related, while Washington and Oregon clocked in at 3.4 and 3.3 percent respectively. Last place was Mississippi at .3 percent of tweets.

That slightly differs from data in Yale’s 2016 climate opinion study, which showed 56 percent of Americans worry about global warming, with Florida tracking 1 percentage point above the national average. In that map, New York comes out the most ahead at 67 percent.

While concern can’t be solely counted in tweets, Natalia Arias, director of programs at the CLEO Institute, a Miami-based climate change advocacy group, said it reflects a pattern she’s familiar with.

“Many Floridians are probably aware and probably understand at a broad level about climate change and our vulnerability,” she said. “At the same time, we definitely noticed a lot of people don’t understand the basics.”

“If you don’t understand the basics and why it’s so serious, you’re not going to have this sense of urgency and want to contribute on the individual level.”

Arias’ organization has held educational workshops and outreach efforts for the last eight years, and she said that many residents of the nation’s most vulnerable state to global warming don’t know how the future changes will affect them, or how they can encourage elected officials to take action.

“We definitely feel like there’s a lot more road to cover,” she said.

Valencia Gunder, lead organizer for New Florida Majority, talks about the climate change march that began at Jose Marti Park in Miami. The march was one of hundreds around the world and coincided with President Donald Trump's 100th day in office.

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