Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When it comes to the environment, education affects our actions

Date:
March 21, 2011
Source:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Summary:
The more highly educated are more likely to display their environmental credentials through what they buy rather than with actions such as turning off lights, according to findings from the world's largest household panel survey.

The more highly educated are more likely to display their environmental credentials through what they buy rather than with actions such as turning off lights, according to findings from Understanding Society, the world's largest household panel survey, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and managed by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex.

The first set of findings from the survey are based on data from more than 22,000 individuals and show that people with degrees are 25% more likely, on average, than people with no education qualifications to adopt pro-environmental behaviours, at least in terms of paying more for environmentally-friendly products. However, they are less likely to turn off the TV overnight or to use public transport.

Overall the survey, which will follow 40,000 UK households over many years, found that 60% of people believed that a major environmental disaster is pending if things continue on their current course, and just over half the respondents (53%) say they 'do quite a few things that are environmentally friendly' or are 'environmentally friendly in most things or everything' they do.

Nonetheless, people's willingness to behave in an environmentally-friendly way comes with conditions as 59% of those surveyed agreed that 'any changes I make to help the environment need to fit in with my lifestyle' and just half (50%) would be prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly products.

Professor Peter Lynn at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) which manages Understanding Society at the University of Essex, said: "These findings offer an interesting suggestion that more highly-educated people may be more willing to take environmentally-motivated principled actions such as buying recycled paper products or avoiding the purchase of over-packaged products and yet are less willing than others to take relatively small actions that may be more of a personal inconvenience."

The survey found that:

  • women are more likely than men to adopt pro-environmental behaviours, for example they are 4% more likely, on average, to be willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products;
  • the presence of dependent children in the household is associated with a lower willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products;
  • employed people seem less likely to adopt pro-environmental behaviours -- especially by putting on more clothes when cold and reducing the frequency of flights -- than people who are outside the labour market.

Understanding Society also reveals that a significant minority have a defeatist attitude towards combating climate change. One in five (21%) think that it is too late to do anything about climate change and nearly a third (29%) believe it is not worth Britain trying to combat climate change, because other countries will just cancel out what we do.

Professor Lynn added: "These initial findings suggest that people's behaviour is motivated by considerations other than environmental concern such as income and personal resources. These motivations need to be better understood if policy makers and civil society organisations looking to change people's behaviours are to make any genuine headway. There clearly remains across all sections of society a considerable reluctance to take part in environmentally-friendly behaviour that has a personal cost, even though the importance of doing so is recognised by the majority of people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "When it comes to the environment, education affects our actions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093843.htm>.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2011, March 21). When it comes to the environment, education affects our actions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093843.htm
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "When it comes to the environment, education affects our actions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093843.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins