16 Mar 2022, 13:47
Edgar Meza

Families could be key ‘change agents’ in tackling climate crisis - analysis

Clean Energy Wire

Families could serve as particularly important "change agents" in tackling the climate crisis and not taking them on board neglects a huge opportunity, according to an analysis by the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna in cooperation with Population Europe. “For the most part, values and lifestyles are shaped within families,” said Andreas Edel, executive secretary of Population Europe. “That is why it is so important to better understand their sociodemographic characteristics and how they will change over time, for example in view of population ageing. Solid evidence about population diversity is important for decision-makers if they want to empower families to adopt environmentally friendly behaviours, not leaving those which are utmost vulnerable behind.”

“Assuming that most parents consider the wellbeing of their children when looking into the future, and thus should have a longer planning horizon than non-parents, there is hardly a social group as likely to care as much about limiting climate change as parents," said lead author Erich Striessnig. "Not taking parents on board in tackling climate change neglects a huge opportunity.”

Families are more mobile than other parts of the population due to the inherent responsibilities of caring for children, such as driving them to school, yet Germany’s public transport has not adapted to their needs, the paper said. Especially in rural areas, inadequate public transport options often force young people to instead use cars when they become parents. Families also have high energy needs and face financial burdens from price increases. The burdens are particularly heavy for low-income families in Germany, the analysis said.

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