UK public unlikely to change habits despite concerns about environment

People are reportedly reluctant to adopt environmentally friendly lifestyle changes despite claiming to care more about damage to the natural environment than ever before.

Londoners and those aged 65 and over were particularly loath to change behaviours

Londoners and those aged 65 and over were particularly loath to change behaviours

That is according to a survey from Natural England which showed younger people are most likely to adapt their behaviour, with 19 per cent of 16 – 24 years olds stating they intend to make lifestyle changes. A further 25 per cent stated they want to do more but don’t know how, or find it difficult.

Compared to older age brackets, young respondents were more open-minded, according to the survey called Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment – The national survey on people and the natural environment.

People aged over 65 were least likely to make changes with 31% saying they already do a lot to protect the environment and a further 39% saying they are happy with their current lifestyle and would not be likely to change it.

People across the age bracket of 16 – 64 were equally likely (17 to 19%) to intend to change their lifestyle, while just 9% of those over 65 said they plan to.

The group least satisfied with their lifestyle habits was 45 – 64-year olds, with less than a quarter (23%) saying they are not likely to change. In the over-65 category, 39% said they are happy and therefore not likely to change their lifestyle.

This apathy towards personal habits comes as calls for changes to lifestyle become more frequent amid alarm at water scarcity, the effects of climate change and pollution from single-use plastics.

Awareness is therefore on the up with public concern about damage to the natural environment at an all-time high, coupled with a rise in awareness and concern about the loss of biodiversity in England.

The survey showed 9 in 10 adults England are concerned about environmental damage, a figure which has remained constant since 2009/10 when it was 88%. 

The proportion of people who were strongly concerned was 37%, with respondents in London showing the least concern (24%) and people living in the north-west most concerned (49%). 

Meanwhile, awareness about biodiversity loss is rising, with almost two-thirds of people nationwide saying they are aware and concerned about the consequences of biodiversity loss in England, up from less than half (49%) in 2014/15.

Ruth Williams

This article appeared first on edie's sister title, Utility Week


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