Scots want more education on causes of climate change, survey suggests

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Almost a third of Scots are unaware of the damage flying does to the environment, according to new research.

A survey found 31% did not know travelling by plane was contributing to climate change.

Meanwhile, a third (33%) were unaware of the impact of taking the car for short trips, and of single-use plastic.

Censuswide Scotland published details of the survey in the wake of Holyrood’s Environment Committee meeting, insisting ministers must put in place clearer plans for action across the board to tackle the “catastrophic harm” being done to the environment.

  • 31% of Scots were unaware of the impact of flying
  • 33% of Scots were unaware of the impact of driving short distances
  • 33% of Scots were unaware of the impact of single-use plastics
  • 38% of Scots were unaware of the impact of using plastic bottled water
  • 53% of Scots were unaware of the impact of eating meat with every meal

And while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has declared a “climate emergency”, only just over half (54%) of Scots were aware of this announcement.

But almost three quarters (73%) said they were willing to change their buying habits to help combat climate change – including reducing the amount of meat they eat and reducing holidays abroad such as trips to Europe.

Nearly four out of five (79%) Scots want more education on the issue, with 78% and 72% looking to the UK and Scottish Governments respectively to raise awareness.

Almost two thirds (62%) also say local councils should play a role in educating the public on environmental matters, along with 53% who think schools and teachers should do more, while two out of five (39%) say the oil and gas industry should also play a part in this.

Almost four out of five Scots (79%) are calling for companies to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And overall almost two thirds (64%) think not enough is being done to tackle the impact of increasing temperatures on the planet.

Jordan Ferguson, from Censuswide Scotland, said: “Last week, Holyrood’s Environment Committee told the Scottish Government they needed well-defined plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, our polling looked at public understanding of the current situation.

“Our results demonstrate clear issues by the public around the causes of CO2 emissions, and a desire for a streamlined channel of information, with many looking to governments to facilitate.”

Greens education spokesman Ross Greer said that “embedding climate education in our schools is a must”.

The MSP added: “As the School Strike For Climate movement has shown though, young people are already the most aware of this threat.

“The Government needs to consider how other generations are informed about the climate crisis and that education cannot focus on lifestyle changes alone, given we’re well past the point where anything other than a transformation in our economy, a Green New Deal, can stop this unfolding catastrophe.”

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