Erfurt, 27 July 2020 - For months now, the Corona crisis has had the world firmly in its grip - and has dominated media coverage. Previously present topics such as global warming or "Fridays for Future" demos have seemingly faded into the social background. But the impression is deceptive: the climate crisis is and will remain, in the long term, the central challenge of the next few years for 75 percent. This is confirmed by a study conducted by the IUBH International University of Applied Sciences on the topic of "Attitudes towards climate protection and sustainability". For this, more than 2,000 people in Germany between the ages of 18 and 65 were surveyed in mid-June.


Personal behaviour: Younger people are more willing to adopt a climate-friendly lifestyle

Climate-friendly behaviour is part of everyday life: 83 percent of those surveyed see climate protection as a shared responsibility. This attitude is also reflected in personal behaviour - for example, in buying regional (73 percent) or sustainable products (70 percent) as well as abstaining from air travel (65 percent) and driving (64 percent). The younger the person, the more committed they are. In the age groups up to 25 years, almost half say they are personally committed to climate protection, for example through demonstrations, giving up meat or the car. The older the age group, the more this proportion drops. Among those aged 46 to 65, only one in five (21.5 percent) say they are personally committed.

The age difference is also noticeable in the willingness to pay higher prices for sustainably produced products: The up to 35-year-olds would accept a maximum price increase of about 30 percent compared to a conventionally produced product, the 46- to 65-year-olds would pay about 19 percent more.


Level of education decisive for the will to protect the climate

Not only younger people, but above all people with higher educational qualifications are willing to commit themselves to climate protection. Only one third of those with a low level of formal education would change their consumption behaviour accordingly, while among respondents with a high level of formal education it is about half. For example, 64 percent of students, but only 43 percent of those without a university education, reduce their meat consumption for the good of the climate. Buying sustainable products is important to 61 percent of students, but only 47 percent of non-students.

For companies that are particularly interested in academics and so-called "high potentials", this means that they should attach importance to a climate-neutral and sustainable appearance. More than 70 percent of the students and prospective students said that sustainable action on the part of the employer is important. Among participants without an interest in studying, the figure is just over 40 percent.


Corona crisis in the climate crisis: both a curse and a blessing?

What influence does the Corona pandemic have on climate protection? 81 percent of the respondents see a positive development through Corona, among other things through reduced production, reduced global trade and reduced mobility. 71 percent see the Corona crisis as a great opportunity to strengthen climate protection efforts. Around a third say that the Corona Crisis has motivated them to adopt more climate-friendly behaviour, for example by travelling less and reducing consumption.

 Nevertheless, there are downsides: 79 percent believe that due to Corona, significantly more cars were used than public transport, which has a correspondingly greater impact on the environment. In addition, 72 percent complain that climate protection activities have taken a back seat, while about 63 percent are critical of the fact that the focus of media coverage is mainly on the global pandemic.



Although the Corona crisis is far from over, the topics of climate protection and sustainability, which dominated many media before the outbreak, are now coming to the fore again. The crisis has also made many respondents realise how much humanity is responsible for the climate and they have accordingly behaved more sustainably in everyday life. The study proves this with a clear majority of respondents who continue to see climate protection as the greatest challenge facing humanity and are prepared to adapt their lifestyles in the future.

The study results can be viewed HERE.

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