Today, 10 December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the first report from its ‘Climate Change in the Irish Mind’ project. (Click here to read the report)
The report includes findings from an opinion poll, conducted by Behaviours & Attitudes last summer among 4,000 adults, and shows that an overwhelming majority of people in Ireland feel that we all should be doing much more to address climate change.
Some 90% of respondents said that Ireland has a responsibility to act on climate change and should do what it can to reduce its own greenhouse emissions.
About nine in ten people in Ireland say politicians (90%), citizens (90%), government (90%), businesses (90%), and local governments (89%) should be doing “much more” or “more” to address climate change. Seven in ten or more residents say they personally (79%), the media (79%) and the Environmental Protection Agency (72%) should be doing more.
Overall, these findings are enormously encouraging.
As EPA Director General Laura Burke said: “The findings of the survey clearly demonstrate that the Irish people overwhelmingly recognise the threat, feel personally affected and want to see real change.”
But the report also leaves the impression that Irish people feel that “other people” need to do more.
Many of the options for action suggested to respondents by the questionnaire were about the actions that “they” (the government, the EPA, the media, etc) should take.
And many of the options suggested for personal action referred to lobbying and donating to environmental organisations, rather than to changing personal behaviour.
“More than two in three people in Ireland (69%) say they would donate money to an organization working on climate change. Half or more say they would volunteer time to an organization working on climate change (60%), meet with an elected official or their staff about climate change (54%), or write letters, email or phone government officials about climate change (52%). About one in three (32%) say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make climate change worse.”
At Global Action Plan, we aim to highlight the power of the simple steps we all can take in our everyday lives. We emphasise personal responsibility, and personal agency. We empower people to reflect on what shapes their behaviour and how they can make the most of the options open to them.
We don’t focus on telling other people what they should do. Instead, we have designed our work so that we can encourage individuals to take charge of change: Take action, both in their own lives and within their organisations.
People and organisations who have taken part in the Challenge, are not only encouraged in a playful way to take climate change seriously; they are given scientifically sound evidence of impact of each of the small changes in their behaviour.
By providing ongoing feedback to the participants, Global Action Plan is able to show people the results of their actions, and to chart individual and collective progress – and each person’s own impact on the environment.
The people of Ireland are right: Climate change is happening, and we all need to do our bit, now.
And we are here to help you if you want to take personal responsibility.