Ireland’s Women are more Concerned about Climate Change than men!

6th June 2023

Posted In: The Topic

Royal London Ireland released results from a survey, which polled 1,000 adults nationwide, conducted as part of their Changemaker’s Programme, which helps social enterprises to find innovative ways to build people’s financial resilience and to move fairly to a sustainable world.

The Programme, which is in its second year, considers important social issues and their impact on people and communities.

While 53pc of women in Ireland said they are “very” or “extremely” concerned about climate change, 10pc less men (43pc) said the same, according to a study from Royal London Ireland.

The same research also found that people over the age of 55 were more likely than any other age cohort to experience a high level of concern over the issues.

Sarah Pennells (pictured), consumer finance specialist at Royal London, commented on the findings:

“This was a really insightful survey, in which we see that contrary to what many may think, people in their 50s, 60s and 70s are just as on board with the battle with climate change as the younger generation – if not more so.

Up until now, there has sometimes been a view that those who are in their 50s and older have been less concerned about climate change, but our research challenges that assumption. People aged 55 and older were most likely to believe that ‘ordinary people like me’ had the most responsibility for helping to tackle climate change – with half (50pc) of this age group believing this, compared to about one in three (35pc) of those aged between 18 and 34.”

Royal London’s research found that extreme weather events both at home and overseas – such as the wildfires which ravaged parts of Europe last summer and the destructive storms and floods which hit America and Australia in recent years – are the biggest propeller of change in people’s behaviours. 43pc of those surveyed said that instances like these have made them more concerned about climate change and they have changed their behaviour as a result.

Sarah continued, “Our research also showed that when people can see the immediate impact of climate change on their day-to-day lives, they are more likely to take action for the better of the environment than would be the case if they were urged to do so by a speaker at a climate change conference, or a politician or protester. Extreme weather events closer to home are on the increase. Many Irish holidaymakers who travelled to Europe last summer witnessed wildfires first-hand, with some being evacuated from resorts after fires erupted nearby. And sadly, we have seen tourists and locals lose lives in wildfires in recent years.”

Highlights from the Royal London Changemakers survey include:

Climate Change Concern

More than eight in ten (83pc) are concerned about climate change to some degree – with one in three (32pc) very concerned and almost one in five (18pc) extremely concerned.

Almost one in five (17pc) are not concerned about climate change with 5pc saying they’re ‘not concerned at all’.

Men are three times as likely as women not to be concerned about climate change at all – 9pc of men versus 3pc of women said so.

Women were more likely than men to be “extremely concerned about climate change – with one in five (20pc) women saying so, versus 14pc of men.

Those aged 55 or more were the age cohort most likely to be extremely concerned about climate change – with almost one in three (29pc) of this age group feeling this, compared to 19pc of those aged between 18 and 34 and, 13pc of those aged between 35 and 54. Only 1pc of those aged 55 or more said they were ‘not concerned at all’ about climate change – with those in other age cohorts five times as likely to feel this way.

Drivers of Change

Social media influencers talking about climate change were found to be the least impactful in influencing people’s mindset and behaviour – 36pc of people say this has no impact on them.

At 39pc, media coverage of the dangers of climate change was the second most likely trigger for people, followed by appeals from politicians and experts (35pc), the United Nations COP26 climate change conference in November 2021 (32pc) and, having children or grandchildren (31pc).

The less likely events to stir people to take action for the better of the environment were the latest COP27 climate change conference (26pc), climate change protests (28pc), social media influencers (28pc) and, brands and companies talking about climate change (29pc).

Who is responsible?

Most people (61pc) believe it is the Government that is most responsible for helping to tackle climate change.

Almost half (46pc) say it falls on the shoulders of large corporations and businesses.

Four in ten (40pc) believe it’s down to “ordinary people like me”.

Only a small fraction believe it is up to their employer, charities, and pressure groups to fight climate change.

Rewarding Change – the Changemakers Programme

Sarah outlined what the Changemakers Programme hopes to achieve,

“Royal London is committed to helping facilitate a Just Transition; where we, as a society move to a low carbon economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive to everyone as possible.

To help bridge the gap between moving into a sustainable world while combatting the cost-of-living crisis, we have announced ten new social enterprises across Ireland and the UK as part of its our Changemakers Programme.

This year’s enterprises have been chosen based on the unique solutions they provide to help people move fairly towards a sustainable world and to promote financial resilience. Each Changemaker will benefit from a €/£20,000 grant, as well as extensive business support from The School for Social Entrepreneurs, which is set to continue for two years”.

Two Irish companies have been selected – Pocket Forests and Community Retrofits Ireland.

Pictured (l-R) are Catherine Cleary and Ashe Conrad-Jones of Pocket Forests at their nursery in the Digital Hub in Dublin 8.