som digital is a digital partner of What Design Can Do. We help them with their digital marketing challenges. WDCD approaches societal challenges by using design (thinking) and including designers worldwide. In the last week of October, the Dutch Design Week (DDW) took place. Here WDCD represented their ‘Climate Change embassy’. Currently, they are currently organizing a challenge regarding climate change. som helped to develop a digital survey to find out what the visitors of the DDW think about climate change. Because of the large number of respondents (N = 707), we could get a clear picture of the climate change attitudes.climate change

The questionnaire

The questionnaire consisted of 12 questions of which ten were multiple choice and two open-ended. Several questions were similar to an IPSOS questionnaire which has been used to measure opinions worldwide. Therefore, part of our results can be compared to the overall world population. The questions were answered on iPads and iPhones.

Attitudes: we can still solve the problem!

From the results of the IPSOS questionnaire, it became clear that more than half of the world population is (somewhat) optimistic about the future of the climate. This is visible in the graph on the left. The majority of the world population believes that it is still possible to reverse this problem. Of the visitors of the DDW, more than 75% is (somewhat) optimistic. So the visitors consisted of relatively many optimists and few pessimists compared to the total world population. Additionally, the number of fatalists at the DDW was underrepresented with 3.3% in comparison to 14% worldwide.

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Overall world population
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Distribution of opinions of the visitors at the DDW

Level of concern

More than half of the people (58%) are very concerned about climate change. Only 2% of the visitors indicated having no concerns at all. That climate change is forming a threat to the earth seems to be what a majority of the visitors believes.

Why don’t people take (more) action against climate change?

climate changeThese results are useful to get an idea of why people don’t do more to prevent climate change. More than 30% of the people indicated finding it too complicated and almost 30% stated they don’t know what to do and how to do it. Interestingly, many people claimed that they don’t have enough time/money to live a more sustainable life. This might be related to the complexity of climate change because a sustainable lifestyle is usually less expensive in the long term. For example, solar panels might initially be expensive can save money in the long run. The same goes for electric cars and buying second-hand clothing is usually cheaper than new clothes. Also eating less meat is relatively cheap.

Suggested laws to reduce climate change

Considering the creative background of designers, we thought it would be interesting to ask for ideas for laws to go against climate change. These are several of the suggestions:

  • introducing a currency that calculates the benefit/harm a service or product does to the environment
  • making the pricing of products dependent on the environmental impact (more pollution = more expensive)
  • toilets should be flushed with rainwater or ‘recycled’ water from the shower
  • free public transportation for everyone and no more than 1 car per family
  • higher taxes on meat products, lower taxes on fruits and vegetables, especially local foods
  • all children must get educated on climate change and the impact of their behavior on the environment

Confronted by our (hidden) impacts

At the Dutch Design Week designer, author and environmental activist Babette Porcelijn gave an eye-opening workshop in which she discussed hidden impacts on climate change. Here we learned about our footprint and the top 10 polluting behaviors. We found out that purchasing new products is number 1 of the most polluting actions on the environment. Individuals may vary in the extent of their polluting behavior and what the causes are. Are you curious about your personal impact? Find out here by doing a test! Through this, you can become aware of your contribution to climate change. It will also give an indication of how many planets are needed to sustain your lifestyle. For example: do you love traveling? Then the chances are that this will be an enormous personal impact resulting from the polluting caused by airplanes. By becoming aware of your sources of pollution you can you can decrease your impact. So before you book your next airplane tickets to Australia you may want to consider biking to Italy.

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