Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

Are Parents More Focused On Earth’s Future?


In my article over at The Atlantic, I describe an interesting trend in the University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll data. Parents appear to be more likely to express concern about critical environmental issues like climate change and more interested in changing their behavior to be smarter consumers when it comes to purchasing energy efficient products and services.

For example, here's a comparison of parents and non-parents who say they are likely to purchase a hybrid car within five years:

And a look at who is interested in installing solar panels:

And finally, this chart considers attitudes on climate change:

These trends hold for far more topics than I have room to share here. And it may sound intuitive that parents are more likely to feel they have a bigger stake in the future, but what's driving these differences between parents and non-parents is more difficult to pinpoint...

Perhaps parents hear more about global challenges because of what their children learn about in school. Or it could the reverse - that parents are more likely to become actively engaged in teaching their kids about these topics. Or maybe parents are more focused on the legacy we will leave behind for future generations. There are many possibilities and none are mutually exclusive. So what do you think is going on?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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