The Plymouth Student Scientist

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Anthropogenic climate change is now a major issue facing the public, government, and environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) alike. In order for climate goals set out by the conference of the parties (COP) summits to be reached, the public must be involved and feel a sense of responsibility to act. Though there have been previous studies investigating the levels of engagement and the actions that individuals take, the impact of certain factors on engagement is still not well understood. A UK survey open for two weeks and shared on social media was conducted. The survey consisted of open and closed questions with some offering a scale examining personal changes made from an everyday perspective, their interactions with ENGOs, levels of trust felt towards sources of information and the government and the impact of environmental movements (EMs) on engagement. The sample size (n=132) was small in relation to being open to all UK residents however, data indicated what areas may have been discouraging engagement. Five public interviews and an interview with one ENGO were also carried out. Though these interviews may not be representative of how the UK public and all ENGOs felt about these issues they gave greater insight into some of the areas covered in the survey and provided anecdotal evidence from an ENGO on what they felt were their biggest barriers to engagement. The findings identified two key areas of discouragement that had previously been overlooked: a lack in governmental competency to fulfil agreements set out by COP26 and a negative association with EMs. Just 0.9% of participants felt that agreements made at COP26 would be stuck to and 53.9% felt the agreements would not be stuck to at all. The impact of EMs was complex with 65.7% arguing that tactics used did or sometimes did deter them however, despite this most environmental movements had still raised public awareness of issues. The findings also indicated a high level of engagement with 67.5% stating they felt engaged or very engaged with the issue and strong sense of responsibility with 83.3% stating they felt responsible or very responsible to make personal changes. Public perception is vital for the ENGOs, and demographic insights into their actions and how they source information may lead to increased engagement.

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The Plymouth Student Scientist





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December 2022

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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