Survey #3a: Qualitative Interviews on Consumption with Prior Respondents (n=34)

This was designed to obtain detailed open-ended views from a specific group of respondents sorted as being unconcerned about climate change while also being concerned about overconsumption. These respondents were screened for: a) don’t think climate change is a concern; b) think environmentalists are extremists; c) believe “Our country would be a better place if we all consumed less”; d) chose “This economic downturn may be just what we need to reorder our values” over “This economic downturn means our leaders should do everything necessary to stimulate the economy” and e) who had previously given permission within a random call for for a follow-up interview (“recruit question”). Respondent file analysis clearly suggested these interviewees fit into the conventional “conservative” definition. From a pool of 85 respondents, four research interviewers made a total of 34 follow-up interviews to ask individuals views, in their own words, what they mean by “consume less”, if they themselves should consume less and/or how, what “values” they think need to be reordered, and a cluster of related items about economic, environmental and social policy issues. Responses recorded and transcribed into a synopsis presentation. Results showed a surprising degree of social commonality below the conventional ideological veneer. Analysis indicates possible openings to frame consumption (hence emissions) in non-ideologically reactive terms.

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