People’s attitudes towards environmental issues appear to have little impact on the way they travel, according to the findings of recent research
People’s attitudes towards environmental issues appear to have little impact on the way they travel, according to the findings of recent research. “What we have seen, in both Helsinki and Reykjavík, is that attitudes towards environmental issues do not have a significant impact on how often people travel abroad or whether they drive or cycle to work. Those who live most centrally cause less pollution on a day-to-day basis by cycling, walking or taking the bus, compared to those living in the suburbs. But this is reversed when it comes to international travel, because those living centrally go abroad more than those living in the suburbs. Over a year, the carbon footprint from international travel is, on average, much higher than from driving a car,” says Áróra Árnadóttir, PhD student at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Áróra’s doctoral project is entitled “Greenhouse gas emissions from urban lifestyles and the connection with urban design and attitudes towards environmental issues”. She is part of a research team along with her supervisor, Jukka Taneli Heinonen, professor of environmental engineering, and Michal Czepkiewicz, postdoctoral researcher at the Engineering Research Institute. The findings of their research into the impact of environmental awareness have been published in Energies and a second article on environmental awareness and behaviour in residents of Reykjavík appeared in November in the journal Sustainability. The team investigated whether and how environmental concern affected people’s travel habits and the environmental behaviour of households, such as conserving heat and electricity, shopping locally, buying organic food and environmentally friendly clothing.
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