15 December 2008

The "Environmentally Unconcerned"

I found this article fascinating. It looked at the environmental attitudes of people in Redmond (inner-city affluent Bristol) and Basildon (one of the more deprived parts of urban Essex).

One group (Basildon) is behaving environmentally (cycling, using public transport, less likely to have a car), but not in traditional, council-measured ways (recycling).

The other group (Redmond) is doing all the tick-box activities (recycling rates, composting rates), so, on paper, they're doing great, but they fly more and drive more and have bigger homes to power and heat.

How do we speak to both groups at the same time, so they converge ... Basildon recycling more and becoming "environmentally concerned" ... Redmond consuming far less, a more simple green lifestyle?


Joe said...

Be interesting to do something similar in the different wards of Coventry. I'd guess that whilst Earlsdon is 'green aware', people probably have bigger houses and more cars than in the less wealthy areas.

Anonymous said...

I'm dead keen to do a Coventry version of this study. I've contacted CACI asking what data they used and how they collated it.

If anyone has any ideas about how best to measure different city suburbs/wards please get in touch.

02476 500 370 or mary.griffin@coventrytelegraph.net

Joe said...

Looks like most of this information is out there, just a case of collating it sensibly.

Anonymous said...

If the area is deprived isn't it economic behaviour rather than environment that the people there are more likely to use public transport and less likely to have a car?

scott redding said...

@Mary - Some things you could find out from a FOI request (car ownership per ward; composting/recycling per ward), but cycling per ward might be harder.

@Mike - Yes. There is a disconnect. They're cycling or taking the bus, because they can't afford to maintain a car (esp with higher petrol prices), but opinion-wise, they're classifying themselves as "not concerned about the environment." That's what is so odd, the people who have the greatest carbon footprint (cars, white goods, electric hedge strimmers, petrol lawnmowers, affording to fly more than twice a year) are the ones who think they have a gold star in environmentalism (recycling and composting and buying organic/fairtrade). The prices for organic/fairtrade need to come down (for deprived neighbourhoods). We need more low-emissions car-sharing projects (more mobility for deprived neighbourhoods), and affluent folks need to rein in their lifestyle choices.

Joe said...

I'd bet that those living in affluent areas take more foreign holidays, have jobs involving lots of travel, eat food which has travelled further as well.

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