“I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself” said Winston Churchill once and since seeing Sir Humprey Appleby’s explanation on leading questions, we know that opinion polls might be manipulated.

However this time, our team as member of an Erasmus+ project decided to look at the most recent Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards the environment. There are some very interesting data and results which in our view highlights the importance for non-government organisations to focus on education and online communication channels. Why?

First of all the survey found that the youngest generation (age between 15-24) has the least % of people agree with the statement of ‘Environmental issues have a direct effect on your daily life. The % is still high (71) but almost 10% less than the age group of 40-54. At the same time the youth has the highest % (26) of disagree with the statement! Quite worrying!

The results to one of the next questions also proves the importance of education. The answers to the question of ‘As an individual, you can play a role in protecting the environment’ shows that the longer someone studies the more somebody agrees. EDUCATION is crucial to be more informed about your power.

(additional note: should question above not be formed differently! Eurobarometer should have asked ‘As an individual, you play a role in protecting the environment’)

And finally how people feel about feeling informed about environmental issues. Interestingly television is still the leading source of information, but….the importance of social media and internet is rocketing! They became the 2nd most important source with an increase of 11% in 3 years time!

So an over simplified conclusion and recommendations to NGOs is twofold: a) focus on education in order to guarantee future generations becomes better informed and more active on environmental issues, and b) focus on spreading information through internet and social media!

….and we of course wonder what conclusions other readers of the Eurobarometer survey draw! 🙂

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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