Nearly half of UK adults have defeatist attitude to personal climate impact, poll claims

Majority polled report feeling guilt when failing to recycle

Richard Jenkins
Friday 25 October 2019 18:51

Nearly half of UK adults have a defeatist attitude regarding their own personal impact on climate change, according to a new poll.

The survey of 2,000 people found 40 per cent of respondents confessed to having an “I’ll do it tomorrow” approach to being more eco-friendly.

A total of 17 per cent of respondents said they forgot to turn the lights off at their house, and 23 per cent drove short distances they could easily walk.

Around one in four confessed to still buying carrier bags from the supermarket rather than using bags for life, while more than a quarter throw food waste straight into the bin, rather than composting it or putting it into food waste.

More than a quarter also put their washing on at 40 degrees or higher.

The majority admitted to feelings of guilt when binning something that could have been recycled, while a third said they believe there is more they could do when it comes to recycling in their household.

A total of 37 per cent said they had installed a smart meter to monitor their energy usage, with a view to reducing how much they use, while four in 10 said they do more now than they did a year ago, in a bid to help the environment.

But while the same percentage say it’s because they care about their own futures, 48 per cent did it to make the planet better for their kids in years to come.

But nearly a fifth of respondents said they weren’t convinced that climate change is a real problem, and three in 10 said the importance of it has been over-exaggerated.

To highlight the positive impact that one person acting now can have on the future of the environment, Smart Energy GB commissioned the survey and launched a new partnership with the National Trust. At six National Trust sites across the UK, augmented reality installations will offer a look at what the natural world could be like in 30 years’ time.

Visitors will be shown a projection of the year 2050, highlighting what could happen to well-loved places if the nation fails to take steps to become more sustainable.

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“This study clearly indicates many Brits don’t realise that the small steps they can take will have a positive effect on the environment, but the good news is we all have the power to make a difference,” said Sacha Deshmukh, Smart Energy's chief executive.

“Visitors to the National Trust will see first-hand what could happen if we don’t all take action now.”

The National Trust hopes the venture will demonstrate its commitment to tackle the climate emergency by using less energy and protecting the environment, by capturing the energy of mountain streams, installing solar panels and smart meters in historic houses, and looking after woodlands.


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