While environmental concerns have firmly taken root in the minds of Europeans, concrete action is still eclipsed by good intentions.
Saving the planet is important to 96% of Europeans personally yet few are willing to take action themselves by changing their own behaviour, reveals latest survey on European attitudes to the environment [2 MB] .
Although most of us recognise we have a role to play ourselves in protecting the environment, we rarely see our consumption habits as a concern. So we're unlikely to go green by using cars less or purchasing eco-friendly products.
While good intentions abound, these are not borne out in practice. Instead, it would appear that Europeans are looking to governments to take the lead. Two thirds favour environment-related decisions being taken jointly at pan-European level and 82% agree EU laws are necessary. The message seems clear – make green behaviour an order not an option.
However, there are plenty of ways we can all do our bit to lessen our environment footprint. To get people started, the EU has put together a number of websites with tips on how we can change our daily behaviour.
The survey also reveals that knowledge of environmental issues varies greatly from one country to the next. The best informed live mostly in the northern and western parts of the EU, while those who feel least informed tend to come from the south and the EU’s new member countries.
The Croatian city of Koprivinca has made its mark on the environmental calendar this year after picking up the 2008 European mobility week award. Its contribution to environmental protection includes promoting walking and cycling, as well as re-allocating road space to non-motorised traffic and increasing the use of alternative fuels in public transport.