The environment comes fourth in a list of issues people feel the government should be dealing with according to a survey commissioned by the Department for the Environment. It also came fourth in the 2001 survey, but this year fewer people rate the environment as a top issue for government.
The top issue is crime which has moved up from 30 to 49 percent. Issues considered less important than in 2001 are health or social services down from 58 to 43 percent, education down from 43 to 36 per cent and the environment down from to 25 to 19 per cent. A newcomer to the important issues is immigration with 16 percent.
Two thirds of people questioned believe that “humans are capable of finding ways to overcome the world’s environmental problems”. While less than one quarter thought that scientists will find a solution to global warming. About one quarter don’t believe that their behaviour and everyday lifestyle contribute to climate change.
Recycling emerged as the most popular activity to respond to global warming. Over 50 per cent thought that people would be willing to “recycle more”. Over 70 percent said they were “recycling more rather than throwing things away” and intended to carry on doing so. The proportion of people recycling paper, glass and plastic has almost doubled since 2001. In 2007 approximately three quarters of people said they recycled these materials, mainly via regular doorstep collection.
Air travel was a less popular responses to climate change with 32 percent saying they wanted to fly less. But 17 per cent felt guilty about taking short haul flights. When questioned about non-business flights over half the people said they had not flown at all, 19 percent had flown once and 12 percent twice.