Techno-Optimism and Farmers’ Attitudes Toward Climate Change Adaptation

Maaz Gardezi and J. Gordon Arbuckle (2018). “Techno-Optimism and Farmers’ Attitudes Toward Climate Change Adaptation.” Environment and Behavior First Published August 9, 2018.

Abstract: In industrialized societies, techno-optimism is a belief that human ingenuity, through improved science and technology, will ultimately provide remedies to most current and future threats to human well-being, such as diseases, climate change, and poverty. Here we examine (a) whether techno-optimism is found among Midwestern corn and soybean farmers and (b) how this confidence in human ingenuity influences their support for climate change adaptation. By examining data from a survey of nearly 5,000 grain farmers in the Midwestern United States, we found that greater techno-optimism can reduce farmers’ support for climate change adaptation and increase their propensity to express a preference to delay adaptation-related actions. This study advances our understanding of how social and cognitive factors influence farmers’ attitude toward climate change. Findings from this study can also help extension educators to develop outreach programs that are sensitive to farmers’ views about the ability of science and technology to solve climate change–related issues.

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