Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2021.


Copyright Kingsley 2021


This study examines climate change perceptions in Nebraskans who experienced or witnessed flooding in March 2019. The purpose is to determine the impacts of 2019 flood experiences on Nebraskans’ climate change perceptions. The objectives are to determine the influence of flood proximity on changes in climate change perceptions, determine whether 2019 flooding had long-term impacts on Nebraskans’ climate change perceptions, and determine the influence of personal background factors on perceptions. A three-phase interview was utilized to collect background information, climate change perceptions, 2019 flood experiences, and relationships between 2019 flood experiences and climate change perceptions. Background information and climate change perception survey results were compiled into pie charts, and 2019 flood experiences were analyzed by thematic analysis. The main impact of 2019 flood experiences on participants’ climate change perceptions was that it challenged assumptions about climate change. For people who experienced or witnessed the 2019 flooding, climate change transformed from a distant, global, or even imaginary issue to a real, local, and personal issue. Of 3 the demographic factors investigated, the education level of the participants had the most influence on interview responses. Finally, the endurance of perceived personal climate change risk two years after the event suggests the 2019 flooding did have a long-term impact on those Nebraskans who experienced it.