Slovaks believe in climate change but are not afraid of it
While less than 0.2% of respondents in Western or Nordic countries such as France or Finland think that climate change is just a fiction, based on the results of the European Social Survey (ESS), in Slovakia it is already more than 3.5% of respondents. The same is true for fears about climate change. Compared to other European countries in which the 10th round of the ESS survey was conducted, a large part of Slovaks are not very worried about climate change and its consequences (e.g. on agriculture, biodiversity, drinking water sources or the health of the population) (graph No1).
Compared to the inhabitants of the two aforementioned countries (France and Finland), Slovaks also feel significantly less responsible for making efforts to reduce climate change.
However, the optimistic result is that more than 93% of Slovaks who are aware of climate change (they know that it is happening based on facts) have a similar opinion on the cause of climate change as the French or Finns. They see human activity behind it. And such belief (that something is caused by human activity) opens up the possibility of doing something about it. It is easier to change our behaviour towards nature than nature itself. In terms of commitment and willingness to take action to make a change (if I want to change something, I have to do it myself, not expect that someone else will do it for me), Slovaks lag far behind both France and Finland, according to the results of the survey. For example, more than a third of the inhabitants of these two countries (32.5% and 38.8%) have experienced boycotting a product, while only 8.8% of Slovaks have. Similarly, only 7.2% of Slovaks have ever volunteered for an NGO or charitable organization, while roughly a third (32.5%) of the French or a quarter of Finns (25.7%) have had such an experience. We lag behind, although less significantly, in signing petitions. The last climate petition was signed by only 130,000 Slovak citizens. In order to reduce the impact of climate change, we need to get rid of the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) as soon as possible. This applies not only to their use for electricity generation but also to their use in industry, transport, and households. It is precisely in the latter two areas that responsible actors at both societal and individual levels can take action.
Data from the published 10th round of the ESS (European Social Survey) is available here.
Edited by Marcel Martončik, Spoločenskovedný ústav CSPV SAV, v. v. i.
Foto: unsplash.com/Patrick Hendry