2. Community Pressures

Participants were asked to identify community pressures and rank their level of concern about each (Figure 11). Issues such as the availability of affordable housing (74%), fair housing opportunities (72%), rising property values (65%), displacement of individuals and communities (63%), and cost of living (62%) ranked among those of the most frequently expressed concerns. Less than four percent of respondents indicate that these same issues are of no concern. Climate change factors frequently rank as the lowest issues of concern among respondents with increasing air temperatures (76%), storms and extreme weather events (74%), extreme heat events (73%), flooding (73%), drought (54%), sea level rise (49%), and wildfire (45%) noted as threats about which respondents are “very” or “moderately” concerned. Among these climate-related issues, at least 65% of respondents indicated some level of concern ranging from “very” to “a little” concerned.

Figure 11.

Rankings of different community pressures also vary by sectors represented by respondents. Table 3 presents issues most frequently expressed as concerns by sector. For example, existing affordable housing was ranked as an issue about which 74% of all respondents are very concerned. Higher “very concerned” rankings were provided by representatives of the education/outreach (90%), policy (89%), transit/transportation (84%), environmental justice (84%), public health (82%), and planning (81%) sectors, while housing representatives only indicated a slightly higher level of concern (76%) compared with all respondents. With respect to displacement, higher “very concerned” rankings were provided by representatives of the environmental and/or economic justice (72%), policy (72%), transit/transportation (68%), parks and natural resources (67%), education/outreach (65%), and housing (65%) sectors compared with the ranking provided by all respondents (63%).

Table 3.

Survey Says! Defining the Challenges of Displacement

“Given the magnitude of climate change, displacement is unavoidable and all activities should work to mitigate negative effects and increase co-benefits.”

“The issue will be where to move [displaced individuals], how to make people whole financially, and especially how to provide for renters and lower income and elderly homeowners.”

“Our city sheltered displaced people after Hurricane Katrina. While that was mostly temporary, following the recent floods, we received a more permanent influx of displaced people, putting pressure on an already inadequate affordable housing supply. For us, the concern is not as much about a direct climate-related disaster but indirect repercussions. I think many cities overlook the importance of being able to quickly absorb and permanently rehouse displaced people when other areas take direct hits.”

“We are very mindful of the potential for climate refugees from other areas moving TO our reservation due to displacement in other regions of the country… If people start to move to our reservation as a means of escaping less habitable locations, what does that mean for our culture, political interactions, enforcing our laws, and managing wildlife?”

“There is an important issue of where citizens will relocate. Will that impact lower income neighborhoods? And where will rental housing be constructed to house displaced renters and low-income elderly?”

Of the climate issues ranked among those about which respondents are “very” concerned (Figure 11) are storms and extreme weather events (45%), extreme heat events (44%), flooding (41%), increasing air temperatures (39%), sea level rise (29%), drought (27%), and wildfire (26%). When filtering these overall rankings by respondents from SPARCC states, some clearer trends emerge (Figure 12).

Figure 12.

For example, wildfire only registers as a major issue of concern for western states such as Colorado (33%) and California (64%). Flooding ranks as the most frequently expressed concern for respondents from Tennessee (67%), while extreme heat events (60%) and storms (45%) are the most frequently expressed concerns by respondents in Georgia and Illinois, respectively.

Table 4 presents the climate change factors most frequently expressed as concerns by sector. For example, higher “very concerned” rankings were provided for storms and extreme weather events by representatives of environmental and/or economic justice (59%), parks and natural resources (52%), policy (48%), public health (48%), and education and outreach (47%) compared with all respondents (45%).

Table 4.

Comparing across sectors in which more than 15% of respondents work, the following trends are noticeable:

  • Storms and extreme weather events are highly ranked by representatives of the environmental justice (59%), parks (52%), and health (48%) sectors
  • Extreme heat events are highly ranked by representatives of the environmental justice (60%), health (56%), and education and outreach (55%) sectors
  • Flooding is highly ranked by representatives of the environmental justice (56%), infrastructure (50%), and health (48%) sectors
  • Increasing air temperatures are highly ranked by representatives of the environmental justice (53%), education and outreach (47%), and parks (43%) sectors
  • Sea level rise is highly ranked by representatives of the environmental justice (43%), education and outreach (35%), and policy (31%) sectors
  • Drought is highly ranked by representatives of the parks (38%), transit (36%), and environmental justice (35%) sectors
  • Wildfire is highly ranked by representatives of the transit (44%), parks (38%), and environmental justice (34%) sectors

Atlanta Metro Park
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