Research from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) found that 49% of Irish people find information on climate action confusing and unclear.
As part of the currently ongoing Science Week 2019, SFI commissioned iReach Insights to investigate the Irish public’s understanding and awareness of climate change. It identified what the public are willing to do to make a positive climate impact and what they understand to be the biggest changes they can make as individuals. This research aligns with the central theme of this year’s Science Week: climate action.
The vast majority (86%) of participants studied agreed that climate change is mostly due to human activity. This belief is most common among younger participants, in fact 91% of 18-34-year-olds agreed with the statement. Plus, 88% agreed that the earth is getting warmer as a result of climate change.
In terms of making a personal impact, 74% of respondents said they would be willing to use reusable drinking bottles, coffee cups or shopping bags, while 73% could commit to reducing their food waste. While 36% would reduce their meat consumption, 10% would eat a plant-based diet to make a positive environmental contribution.
Respondents believe they can make the biggest personal impact by using energy efficient products in their home (55%); using reusable drink containers or shopping bags (49%); and by cycling, walking or using public transport more (49%).
Science Week 2019 is already in full bloom, having kicked off on 10 November. Hundreds of events will take place over the course of the week to bring science and climate action to the fore of the Irish public’s minds.
“Climate change is the biggest crisis facing humanity today. Climate disruption is already having diverse and wide-ranging impacts on Ireland’s environment, society, economic and natural resources. It is changing where people, plants and animals can safely live, and the recent media and policy focus on climate emergency and action is to be welcomed,” said Prof Mark Ferguson, director general, SFI and chief scientific adviser to the government of Ireland.
“As part of Science Week 2019, we are seeking to help people understand climate change, how science and technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change. Given that a significant majority of our research respondents stated that they find information on climate action confusing, we hope to provide research-based information and solutions as part of Science Week 2019.
“Reducing plastics is only one of a multitude of actions required, we need to widen the engagement with the public in relation to solutions to greenhouse emission and climate action.”