Youngsters lag behind on green issues

Young Australians might be more likely to rank climate change as a concern, but they lag behind their parents and grandparents in taking everyday steps to help the environment.

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The trend emerged in the quarterly Australian Social Trends report, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Using data collected in 2007/08, it found 73 per cent of adults were concerned about climate change, but only 60 per cent of those aged 65 and over were concerned.

There was also a link with education – with concern about the issue rising with the level of education attained – and people who were unemployed also were less likely to care about the issue.

The vast majority of Australians, 94 per cent, were recycling their waste, but only one-third were composting their food scraps.

Young adults aged 18 to 24 were the least likely to recycle, with only 74 per cent bothering to sort their garbage.

Of the Aussies who do the grocery shopping, 43 per cent said they took ‘green’ bags all or most of the time, and again it was young adults least likely to bother – with only 34 per cent taking their own bags to the shops.

Young Australians were least likely to cut their electricity use, and most likely to report that they didn’t care how much power they used.

People’s concerns

Australian Social Trends reports aim to cover social issues of current and ongoing concern.

The latest report also found a rise in the number of underemployed people from 5.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent of the labour force.

In the past decade, as more women entered the workforce, the proportion of children who attended formal child care had increased from 17 per cent to 22 per cent.

Life expectancy for Australian men has increased to above 79 years, yet remains about four years less than the life expectancy for women.

One in four adults avoids using public transport at night or walking after dark in their neighbourhood because they feel unsafe in those situations alone.

Australia had 22.2 million people in December 2009, with 432,600 people added in the year to December 2009.

Nearly two-thirds of the gain was from net overseas migration.

In the year to June 2008, there was a doubling in the net gain of people on student visas, to 109,000.

The ABS projects Australia’s population to be between 34-40 million in 2051.

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