Few People Are Ready to Change Their Lifestyles to Save the Planet, Climate Survey Finds | Environment


Citizens are alarmed by the climate crisis, but most believe they are already doing more to save the planet than anyone, including their government, and few are ready to make significant lifestyle changes, international survey finds .

“The general awareness of the importance of the climate crisis illustrated in this study must still be accompanied by a willingness to act in proportion” survey of 10 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, observed.

Emmanuel Rivière, director of international polls at Kantar Public, said the survey, carried out at the end of September and published on the occasion of the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, contained “a double lesson for governments”.

They must first “live up to people’s expectations,” says Rivière. “But they also need to persuade people not of the reality of the climate crisis – it’s done – but of the solutions and how we can fairly share responsibility for those.”

The survey revealed that 62% of those polled saw the climate crisis as the main environmental challenge the world now faces, ahead of air pollution (39%), the impact of waste (38%) and new diseases (36%).

But when asked to rate their individual action against others such as governments, businesses and the media, people generally saw themselves as much more committed to the environment than others in their local community. or any other institution.

Around 36% said they were “very committed” to preserving the planet, while only 21% felt the same was true of the media and 19% of local governments. Only 18% felt that their local community was also engaged, with national governments (17%) and large companies (13%) seen as even less engaged.

Respondents were also reluctant to do more themselves, citing a wide range of reasons. Most (76%) of those polled in the 10 countries said they would agree to stricter environmental rules and regulations, but almost half (46%) felt that they did not really need to change their policies. personal habits.

climate survey graph

Only 51% said they would definitely take individual climate action, 14% said they definitely would not and 35% are heartbroken. The Poles and Singaporeans (56%) were the most willing to act, and the Germans (44%) and the Netherlands (37%) the least.

The most frequent reasons given for not wanting to do more for the planet were “I am proud of what I am doing now” (74%), “There is no agreement between the experts on the best solutions” (72%), and “I need more resources and equipment from the public authorities” (69%).

Other reasons for not wanting to do more include “I can’t afford to put in the effort” (60%), “I lack information and advice on what to do” (55%) , “I don’t think individual efforts can really have an impact” (39%), “I think environmental threats are overestimated” (35%) and “I don’t have time to think about it” ( 33%).

When asked about the actions to be taken to preserve the planet, citizens also gave more importance to measures which were already established habits, which required less individual effort or for which they bore little direct responsibility.

About 57%, for example, said reducing waste and increasing recycling were “very important”. Other measures considered to be priorities were the reversal of deforestation (54%), the protection of endangered animal species (52%), the construction of energy-efficient buildings (47%) and the replacement of fossil fuels with energies. renewable (45%).

climate survey graph

However, the people questioned consider that the measures likely to affect their own lifestyle are much less important: reducing people’s energy consumption is only considered a priority by 32%, while giving priority to public transport over the car. (25%) and radically changing our agricultural model (24%) were also unpopular.

Only 23% believe it is important to reduce air travel and charge more for products that do not meet environmental standards to save the planet, while banning fossil fuel vehicles (22%) and reducing the meat consumption (18%) and international trade (17%) were seen as even lower priorities.

“Citizens are undeniably concerned about the state of the planet, but these results raise doubts about their level of commitment to preserve it,” the study said. “Rather than translating into a greater willingness to change their habits, citizens’ concerns focus particularly on their negative assessment of government efforts.

Representative samples of over 1,000 people were interviewed in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand.

People rated themselves the highest for engagement everywhere except Sweden, while it was only in Singapore and New Zealand that national governments were seen as very engaged. The gap between citizens’ opinion of their own efforts (44%) and that of their government (16%) was highest in the UK.

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