75% of Canadians worry about climate change and its impacts

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April 2023

New research released by Unite for Change finds that three-quarters (75%) of Canadians are experiencing anxiety about climate change and its impacts, with Canadians ages 18 to 34 most likely to be concerned about climate change (81%). The concerns are so great that one-in-five Canadians (21%) say they are having fewer or no children as a way to take action against climate change.

In a survey of 1,504 Canadians from across the country, respondents were asked to rank their perceived risks to their future. Only the rising cost of living/inflation (36%) and access to quality healthcare (16%) outranked climate change and its impact (13%). Furthermore, more Canadians ranked climate change as the greatest risk to their future than the ability to make a liveable wage (12%), social inequalities (4%), and access to quality education (2%).

Residents of Quebec are most likely to be worried about climate change (86%), followed by Ontario (75%), British Columbia (74%) and Atlantic Canada (73%). Residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are by far the least likely to express worry about climate change (48%). Twenty-five percent of Canadians are not worried about climate change.

More Than Half of Canadians Think the Government is Not Doing Enough

The survey also reveals that many Canadians believe there is room for all levels of government to do more to tackle climate change. Only two-in-five (39%) Canadians agree that the federal government is doing enough, and just one-in-three (34%) say the same about their provincial government. Almost half (46%) of Canadians disagree that their local municipal governments are doing enough on the matter. Canadians between 18 and 34 years of age are consistently more likely to disagree that governments, at all levels, are not doing enough to fight climate change, expressing the highest disappointment towards the provincial government (63%), followed by the federal government (55%) and their municipal government (52%).

How Canadians Are Taking Climate Action

While many Canadians think that all levels of government can do more to take action on climate change, most are taking matters into their own hands. Among Canadians who believe climate change is an issue, the vast majority (86%) say they take action on climate change by recycling and composting, although less than half say the same of other actions. Two-in-five report carpooling, taking public transit or walking/biking more often (41%); three-in-ten (28%) actively research climate issues, and related topics; and about one-in-seven (14%) follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Only 15 percent donate to climate action and environmental initiatives, while 5% don’t know how they can tackle climate change.

Ways Canadians Can Take Action 

There are many ways Canadians can support environmental initiatives. When a donation is made to a Cause Fund on Unite for Change, the donated amount is divided equally among registered Canadian charities, all focused on the same cause. Supporting environmental causes is critical because these charities only receive approximately 1.7 percent of total receipted revenue according to the Canada Revenue Agency. Canadians can easily support the environment by donating to one of three environment-related Cause Funds on Unite for Change:

  • Fight Climate Change with Policy Fund: Curated by Michael Bernstein, Executive Director of Clean Prosperity, this fund supports critical programs and initiatives that advocate for policy changes to end the climate crisis and lead to building a cleaner, healthier world. From April 17th to 22nd, donations to this fund will be matched.*
  • Land and Food Justice Fund: This fund supports leading organizations that improve land access and promote ecological food systems. Curated by Natasha van Bentum, Director of Give Green Canada; Lauren Baker, the Senior Director of Programs with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food; and Leticia Ama Deawuo, the Executive Director of SeedChange, this fund includes almost 40 charities from across Canada that are substantially focused on land access, ecological food systems, and food justice. From April 17th to 22nd, donations to this fund will be matched.*
  • Protect the Environment Fund: Less than 11 percent of Canada’s plastic is recycled. The rest ends up in our lakes, parks, landfills, and oceans, destroying ecosystems and leaching toxic chemicals. The Protect the Environment Fund supports more than 550 registered charities focused on protecting the environment and its ecosystems.

Canadians who would like to take action in support of the environment in a different way can also take a quiz on climate change to test their knowledge. For every quiz completion, $5 will be donated to the Fight Climate Change with Policy Fund.

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