Dear seniors. Let’s tackle environmental problems! vol.1

Dear seniors. Let’s tackle environmental problems!
JANCA’s report on the research results and action plan

A number of seniors are interested and involved in environmental issues, ranging from garbage disposal, maintenance of the natural environment to global environmental problems (e.g., global warming). However, little is known about their activities because their efforts are mostly local and/or the range of their activities is limited at each organization. Also, having experienced the poverty and pollution, a lot of today’s seniors are apprehensive about recent “culture of wasting.”

Considering these seniors’ social activities and concerns, Japan NGO Council on Ageing (JANCA) decided to work on environmental issues at its general assembly (April, 5, 2006). As its first step, JANCA conducted the “Survey on environmental problems” (Subjects: 1765 people aged 50 and over nationwide) in June (environment month) and found their perceptions and activities regarding environmental issues.

Based on the study results, JANCA also held a press conference on June 30th and presented “Seniors’ action plan to tackle environmental problems.” First, Shigeyoshi Yoshida (Executive Director, JANCA) gave a brief description of the study results. Then Keiko Higuchi (Representative, JANCA) presented “Seniors’ action plan to tackle environmental problems (declaration): 4 resolutions and 3 collaborations,” made by JANCA environment committee. A session for questions and answers was also held. The following summarizes the press conference.

Dear seniors. Let’s tackle environmental problems! vol.2

I Overview of “Survey on environmental problems”

This study was conducted to examine seniors’ perceptions and activities on environmental issues, in which many seniors are very interested and actively involved. Based on this study, JANCA would like to propose the action plan to tackle environmental problems.

First, volunteers at JANCA’s member organizations founded “JANCA environment committee (Chair: Keiko Higuchi, Chair person of the Women’s Association for a Better Aging Society) to prepare for the study. The questionnaires were made by the committee and sent to 1765 JANCA members nationwide under the names of JANCA co-representatives (Keiko Higuchi & Tsutomu Hotta). JANCA’s member organizations assisted in requesting the subjects for study participation.

The mail survey was conducted between June 1st and 13th. The number of respondents was 1241 (response rate was 70.3%). Data analysis was mainly conducted by Japan Aging Research Center (Chief investigator of JANCA research committee was Shigeyoshi Yoshida), the main office of this study.
 

1. Subject descriptions

The proportions of the respondents’ sex were about the same, with 618 males (49.8%), 616 females (49.6%), and 7 no-answers (0.6%).

The average age of the respondents was 65.24 (66.91 for males and 63.57 for females). As for age groups, 27.1% of the respondents were under age 60, 38.8% were 60s, 3.0% were 70s, and 1.1% had no answer.

Regarding their involvement in environmental activities, 22.0% of the respondents participated in some kind of activities. Males between ages 70-74 and females between ages 65-69 were more likely to be involved in the activities (34.8% and 42.8%, respectively).

Dear seniors. Let’s tackle environmental problems! vol.3

I Overview of “Survey on environmental problems” (cont.)

2. Environmental problems

(1) “Relationships between global environmental problems and our life activities”
Over a half of the respondents (53.1%), regardless of their sex and age, report that life activities of each citizen affect global environment. This result is higher than that of the similar national study (31.5%) with people aged 20 and over (n=2010). In addition, 41.6% of the respondents report that life activities of each citizen have some effects on global environment, though industrial activities have a major impact. The proportion of this answer was lower than the national study (50.8%). The proportion of the response “Industrial activities have the most impact on environment” in this study was much lower than that in the national study (3.1% and 10.0%, respectively).

When grouping the responses by involvement in environmental activities, 61.2% of those who participate in the activities report that life activities of each citizen affect global environment, while 51.5% of those who are not involved in the activities did so.

Table 1: Do you think life activities of each citizen affect global environmental problems? (%)

Activities of each citizen affect. Mainly industrial activities affect, but each citizen’s activities also do. Mostly industrial activities affect. Other Do not know No answer
Total 1241 53.1 41.6 3.1 0.3 0.9 1.0
[Sex]
Male 618 51.0 42.1 4.7 0.3 1.1 0.8
Female 616 55.4 41.4 1.5 0.3 0.6 0.8
[Involvement in environmental activities]
Yes 273 61.2 35.9 2.2 0.7
No 913 51.5 42.8 3.4 0.4 1.2 0.7

(2) “When do seniors feel Mottainai in their daily lives?”
The most popular answer was “When throwing left-over foods away (66.3%),” followed by “Over-decorated wrapping (58.9%),” “When leaving air-conditioners and lights on (42.2%),” and “When throwing clothes away (36.7%).” Females were more likely to choose “Over-decorated wrapping” and “When throwing clothes away” than male respondents. Males were more likely to choose the other answers than females.
Table 2: When do you feel "Mottainai" in your daily life? (M.A.) (%)

n Throwing left-over foods away Over-decorated wrapping Leaving air-conditioners and lights on Throwing clothes and shoes away Driving even if the public transportation is available Other No answer Total (M.A.)
Total 1241 66.3 58.9 42.2 36.7 9.6 1.7 0.4 215.8
[Sex]
Male 618 67.3 56.3 44.8 29.6 12.1 1.6 0.5 212.3
Female 616 65.6 61.9 39.8 43.5 6.8 1.6 0.2 219.3

(3) “In what environmental activities can seniors be actively involved?”

The most popular answer was “Disposing garbage and recycling resources according to the rules (83.5%)” regardless of the respondents’ sex and age, followed by “Turning the electricity off frequently (52.1%)” and “Bringing own bags and refusing over-decorated wrapping (32.2%).”

Table 3: In which activities can you be involved to protect environment? (M.A.) (%)

n Recycling resources according to rules Turning the electricity off frequently Refusing plastic bags and/or over-decorated wrapping Trying not to make water dirty Joining voluntary activities in recycling Other No answer Total
Total 1241 83.5 52.1 32.2 21.7 7.9 1.0 2.8 201.0
[Sex]
Male 618 84.8 59.5 21.2 16.0 12.6 1.9 2.6 198.7
Female 616 82.5 44.8 43.2 27.3 3.2 2.8 203.7
[Involvement in environmental activities]
Yes 273 76.9 40.3 27.1 25.6 27.8 2.6 3.7 204.0
No 913 85.4 55.4 33.7 20.2 2.0 0.5 2.5 199.8

(4) “Are seniors aware of Team -6% based on Kyoto Protocol, and are they willing to take action proposed by Team -6%?”

As Table 4 shows, most of the respondents are aware of Team -6%. A number of respondents also report that they would like to take action.

Table 4-1: Currently, Japanese government proposes 6 daily activities to
reduce CO2 (Team -6%) based on the Kyoto Protocol, which presents international
measures against environmental problems and global warming. About which
activities do you know? Which activities would you like to try in the future?

<Know about the activity> (%)
N Yes No No answer
(A)Setting the air-conditioner’s temperature at 28℃ in the summer and 20℃ in the winter. Total 1241 86.5 9.8 3.8
(B)Turning the faucet off frequently (not only to save water but also to save the electricity). Total 1241 80.0 15.6 4.4
(C)Stopping idling (i.e., cutting the engine in stationary vehicles). Total 1241 76.2 14.2 9.6
(D)Buying appliances which are energy efficient. Total 1241 77.1 14.2 8.7
(E)Refusing over-decorated wrapping (e.g., bringing own bags) Total 1241 84.3 9.8 6.0
(F)Pulling plugs frequently. Total 1241 76.4 16.2 7.4

Table 4-2

<Like to try> (%)
n Yes No No answer
(A)Setting the air-conditioner’s temperature at 28℃ in the summer and 20℃ in the winter. Total 1241 78.7 5.3 16.0
Know 1073 79.3 5.1 15.6
Do not know 121 89.3 8.3 2.5
(B)Turning the faucet off frequently (not only to save water but also to save the electricity). Total 1241 85.0 0.6 14.4
Know 993 84.8 0.4 14.8
Do not know 193 96.4 1.6 2.1
(C)Stopping idling (i.e., cutting the engine in stationary vehicles). Total 1241 71.9 4.0 24.1
Know 946 76.8 3.6 19.6
Do not know 176 77.8 9.1 13.1
(D)Buying appliances which are energy efficient. Total 1241 81.5 3.1 15.3
Know 957 84.7 1.6 13.7
Do not know 176 80.7 13.1 6.3
(E)Refusing over-decorated wrapping (e.g., bringing own bags) Total 1241 79.0 5.4 15.6
Know 1046 81.1 4.1 14.8
Do not know 121 78.5 18.2 3.3
(F)Pulling plugs frequently. Total 1241 75.4 10.6 14.0
Know 948 78.4 7.8 13.8
Do not know 201 69.2 26.9 4.0

This study also asked the respondents for free comments on their daily involvement and future perspectives to protect environment. Approximately 500 respondents made comments. Seniors’ action plan to tackle environmental problems was made based on these comments.