How optimistic do you feel about the future? With the UK falling at the final hurdle at football and tennis, as well as our consistently terrible weather, you wouldn't be alone in feeling less than optimistic about what lies ahead.
New research from the CII has found that just 5% of Britons feel "very optimistic" about the future due to their concerns around the environment, consumerism, and society, yet it also found that few are willing to take the necessary steps to change this.
While nine out of ten (90%) people feel that society is deteriorating in the UK, only one in three 30% have found the time to contribute towards a potential solution by volunteering.
Examining people's views on future risks, we found that they had similarly negative attitudes towards solving environmental issues, a major threat to the future. Half (51%) admitted that they felt under pressure from friends and family to be seen as 'green', but rather than taking action, they exaggerate their actions:
- 22% admit to exaggerating about their recycling
- 23% claim they use public transport or cycle more than in reality
- 26% exaggerate about turning their heating down to save the planet
- 30% stretch the truth about taking reusable bags to the shops
The research also found that two thirds (61%) of consumers believe that substantial global warming will happen over the next 40 years, drastically affecting the next generation.
So what's the reason for this lack of motivation? It's clear that consumers need to face up to the fact that unless they contribute by taking positive action, their future could look very different to today.
Our research shows that whilst there is widespread knowledge of major future risks: climate change, longevity, overpopulation and a savings gap for retirement, consumers aren't willing to sacrifice their lifestyles to enact future change. Awareness of future problems often doesn't result in individual action to anticipate them.
The public may well be looking for guidance from government and larger organisations and companies who they perceive can have a major impact. But where personal responsibility via collective action by individuals is embraced, then change can be powerful and future risk addressed.