Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Public attitudes and behaviours positive on the environment

Public attitudes and behaviours positive on the environment

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (398/07) issued by The Government News Network on 2 November 2007

Most people claimed that being 'green' is now the socially acceptable norm, a survey into public attitudes and behaviours found, rather being an alternative lifestyle. And the main motivation for an environmentally friendly lifestyle is guilt about harming the environment.

The 2007 Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviour toward the Environment is the sixth in a series of surveys that Defra and its predecessors have conducted since 1986.

Of the 3,600 people in England polled, 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.

Many respondents agreed they do try to influence others to be more environmentally friendly, with a third saying they talk to friends and family about things they can do to change their behaviour.

Environment Minister, Joan Ruddock, commented:

"The most encouraging finding in this survey is the majority of people believing that its 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.

"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."

The survey also covered modes of transport for getting to work, school/college, or going shopping. Overall, for journeys of one mile or less 45% drove, six per cent took public transport and 46% walked or cycled. For journeys of three miles or less 58% drove, nine per cent took public transport and 28% walked or cycled.

When looking at satisfaction with individual aspects of people's lives, satisfaction with day to day activities, achieving goals, standard of living and personal relationships seemed to contribute most to overall satisfaction with life. 79% of respondents generally felt positive about themselves and a similar proportion felt that what they do is valuable and worthwhile. Seven in ten people were optimistic about their future but 44% found it hard to be hopeful about the future of the world.

Notes to Editors
2007 Attitudes and Behaviour toward the Environment was carried out by British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)

The full report, completed for Defra by BMRB, follows National Statistics releases of headline survey results released on 14 August 2007, and results of questions on wellbeing on 27 July 2007.

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