Being ‘green’ is now a socially acceptable norm

The main motivation for an environmentally friendly lifestyle is guilt about harming the environment, reveals a new report published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The survey, 2007 Attitudes and Behaviour Toward the Environment, carried out by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB), polled 3,600 people in England on topics including general attitudes toward the environment, energy, water efficiency, and recycling.

When asked about waste, 87% said they give away things they no longer want to charity shops or friends and family, and 78% said they sometimes reuse empty bottles, jars, envelopes and paper.

“The most encouraging finding in this survey is the majority of people believing that it is up to individuals to accept responsibility by making lifestyle changes,” said Environment Minister, Joan Ruddock.

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

According to the report, half the respondents said they never leave lights on and 72% said they have invested in energy-saving light bulbs over the last 5 years.

The survey also covered modes of transport for getting to work, school or college, or going shopping.

Overall, for journeys of one mile or less 45% drove, 6% took public transport and 46% walked or cycled.

For journeys of three miles or less 58% drove, 9% took public transport and 28% walked or cycled.

The poll is the sixth in a series of surveys that Defra and its predecessors have conducted into attitudes towards the environment since 1986.

Ms Ruddock said: “Government is determined to make it possible for people to choose greener lifestyles and to provide advice and encouragement through our Act on CO2 Campaign.”

Dana Gornitzki

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