Guilt making people more eco-friendlyGreen lifestyle becoming increasingly important

03 November 2007

 

Blue recycle bin

Living a ‘green’ lifestyle is becoming increasingly important for many people, according to new research.

But many people are still unclear about the meaning of terms such as ‘carbon offsetting’.

7 out of 10 people said they would not be embarrassed if their friends thought their life was purposefully environmentally friendly, while just 30% believe being green is an ‘alternative lifestyle’.

Guilt is the main motivating factor for many people, with 59% of people saying they feel bad about doing things that harm the environment.

Carbon offsetting

And 20% say it's only worth doing environmentally friendly things if it saves money.

The findings are revealed in the full report of English attitudes towards the environment, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

It reveals just 4 out of 10 people thought they knew a lot about environmental issues, with people more aware of some topics than others.

While at least 6 out of 10 claimed to know a lot or a fair amount about global warming and climate change, only 1 in 4 could say the same about the term ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘carbon offsetting’.

In fact, of the 3,600 people polled, 30% had never heard of a carbon footprint while 35% had never heard of carbon offsetting.

Reusing waste

Of those who said they knew a lot or a fair amount about carbon offsetting, almost 6 in 10 agreed with the view that 'carbon offsetting encourages people to carry on doing things that harm the environment', and 1 in 3 believed 'carbon offsetting will make no difference in the fight against climate change'.

The report also found more and more people are reusing waste, with nearly 8 in 10 reusing things like empty bottles, tubs, jars, envelopes or paper from time to time.

Environment minister Joan Ruddock said: ‘The most encouraging finding in this survey is the majority of people believing that it's up to individuals to accept responsibility by making lifestyle changes.

‘This is vitally important as 40% of climate change emissions come from our actions as individuals.’

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