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Nine in Ten Miami Residents Express Concern for Increased Energy Costs

7 February 2011 - Energy issues are a worry for most Miami-Dade County residents, particularly those who feel it will affect them personally in the form of increased cost (94%) and energy shortages in the next 20 years (86%), according to findings from a new study commissioned by Miami Science Museum (MiaSci).

MiaSci recently launched the study, as part of planning for the new Museum, aimed at identifying existing attitudes and interests related to renewable energy and sustainability. The research was conducted across different segments of Miami’s diverse community in order to help shape future programs and exhibits to fit the interests of visitors and improve the Museum’s ability to create a sustainable future. Conducted by international opinion research consultancy, GlobeScan and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the bilingual study combined online interviews with a representative sample of 600 Miami-Dade County residents with two in-depth focus group sessions.

However, the findings also show that support for going beyond GDP has slipped back in some countries since the last time the survey was conducted, in 2007.

MiaSci was particularly interested in understanding how different groups receive messages and content about energy, environmental and sustainability topics and, more specifically, what role the Museum plays in communicating information on these topics to the community.

While energy issues are a major concern for Miami residents, there is a lack of knowledge about a range of energy-related issues such as generating electricity through solar or wind power, and about climate change. Respondents reported that they know “a fair amount” about these subjects but very few say they know a “great deal.” Only nine percent of respondents reported knowing a “great deal” about climate change versus 41 percent who report knowing “very little.” This apparent need for information and knowledge sharing means that the Museum's role to inform and educate is crucial.

“The future looks bright for MiaSci and the environment, with findings that younger people (18-34 years) are more likely to consider the environment in the actions they take and strongly agree that they can help reduce the harm done to the environment,” said Jennifer Santer, Miami Science Museum's Vice President of Content Development & Programs. “Additionally, an overwhelming 97 percent reported that it is important for children to learn at a young age how to be energy efficient. These findings have become a motivational tool not only for the Museum to continue engaging people in environmental learning but also for the community to make changes for those generations to come.”

Residents of Miami-Dade County frequently think about the environment and are motivated to take positive action, yet more information on what can be done is needed. Approximately three-quarters of respondents (76%) agree that they need more information to know what to do to help reduce their impact on the environment. Findings demonstrate that there is a definite interest, with 95 percent of respondents saying they would be interested in learning practical tips on ways to save energy today.

The motivation for people to carry out these interests and take action on the environment is linked to ease of implementation, financial benefits and a sense of personal efficacy. Out of a range of institutions including government, companies, media and NGOs, respondents trust the scientific community (82%) and museums (81%)the most when it comes to environmental information. These results open the door to a wide range of exciting projects that the Museum will continue to work on and tailor specifically to the South Florida community.

“The research shows there is a clear need for information and communication to help people in Miami Dade County take steps to reduce their impact on the environment,” said James Morris, Associate Director at GlobeScan. “People believe that through their own actions they can help to reduce the harm done to the environment, however, they need help in identifying practical steps that they can take in their everyday lives.”


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About Miami Science Museum

The Miami Science Museum aims to make a difference in people s lives by inspiring them to appreciate the impact that science and technology can have on every facet of our world. For over 60 years, MiaSci s award-winning educational programs, family-focused exhibits, historic planetarium, and rehabilitative Wildlife Center and Clinic have enriched locals and tourists alike. In 2014, the legacy continues, as MiaSci will be moving to a new world-class, state-of-the-art facility designed by Grimshaw Architects in the heart of downtown Miami. The Museum will remain operational at its current location on South Miami Avenue until completion of the new building. MiaSci is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information about the Museum and our New Museum project, visit www.miasci.org/blog or call (305) 646-4200.

Miami Science Museum is located at 3280 South Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33129. The Museum is open every day from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. Admission is free for MiaSci members and children under 3; students (with valid ID), seniors (62+) and children 3–12, $10.95; adults are $14.95. Parking is free.

Miami Science Museum is funded with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for its unique expertise in reputation research, sustainability, and issues management. GlobeScan provides global organizations with evidence-based insight and advice to help them build strong brands, manage relations with key stakeholders, and define their strategic positioning. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for its quality management system, and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in London, Toronto, and San Francisco. www.GlobeScan.com

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