Europe

‘Time Poor’ Brits who think they’re ‘sustainable’ failing to take simple actions

Greta Thunberg slams carbon offsetting panel for 'greenwashing'

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The findings were evidenced by 3 Sided Cube, a mobile app agency that prides itself on “making social impact on a huge scale”. The group is currently focusing on the “intention-action gap”, which they described as “the difference between what people say they want to do compared to what they actually do.”

The group’s latest report entitled “Bridging the Gap” intends to look at why people aren’t making sustainable choices despite wanting to, and the actions that can be taken to fix this.

They outline the severity of the climate crisis within its pages and ask UK residents a series of questions including about the feasibility of being a sustainable consumer.

While just under three fifths (58 percent) claim their current lifestyle is sustainable, when it comes to taking effective action the uptake of simple steps is much lower.

The only action that was undertaken by more than 50 percent of people was avoiding single-use plastic.

The report writes: “Even without asking directly about the existence of the gap, we can witness it in action here.

“People want to believe they are taking action, and want to make a difference, but so often fall down at the final hurdle.”

Just under a fifth – 18 percent – noted that they do not take any climate action whatsoever.

The company note that this could be as a result of convenience, which they state is a “major factor” that stops people “actually following through on their sustainable intent.”

They write: “People are often time-poor, and have a multitude of other priorities that, in the moment, get in the way.”

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Their findings also note that 32 percent of respondents admitted that they set out to make a sustainable decision, and then fail to follow through with it.

The company describes this as “a clear indication of the dreaded gap we need to bridge.”

According to the report, one notable example of unsustainable behaviour evidenced by Britons is the level of plastic pollution and the subsequent damage it has caused to biodiversity.

The report reads: “Plastics (both micro and macro) threaten local and global biodiversity as they damage the health of wildlife on land and in the sea, spreading toxins and clogging habitats, choking the most precious life we have on this planet.”

The report comes as world leaders gather in Glasgow, alongside activist Greta Thunberg who has been highly critical of the two-week COP26 conference. 

She claimed it is the most “excluding Cop ever” and labelling it a “two-week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah”.

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Aside from this, the report evidenced that there are three many factors preventing consumers from making sustainable choices including cost and practicality.

According to a survey carried out by the group, Britons have been failing to undertake a number of sustainable actions.

The survey was undertaken by 2,000 nationally representative UK adults to gain insights into their attitudes towards sustainability and green living.

Half of the respondents noted that sustainability was a priority in their life, while 14 percent deemed it a top priority.

The research data highlighted that the attitude towards the climate had changed to those of five years ago.

The study notes that almost three fifths (59%) claim sustainability is more important to them now than it was then.

In spite of this, the survey also highlighted some positivity, with 52 percent of respondents claiming to avoid single-use plastic, and almost a third (30%) saying they avoid flying where possible.

Their research also notes that technology can play a vital role in helping the population make more sustainable decisions.

The paper concludes with: “The world is standing on the edge of multiple tipping points and one of the most problematic barriers to sustainable consumerism is this intention-action gap, as demonstrated through our research.

“As we have seen from the prevalence of the gap and our findings, the gap is affecting over 16,000,000 people throughout the UK, and the figure may well be much higher given that that figure is based purely on those who admit to struggling with the gap – the true figure may be closer to half the population.”

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