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ENVIRONMENTAL VIEWS AND BEHAVIOUR
Australians aged 18-24 years reported less concern about the environment than all other age groups - around one-quarter (26%) said they were not concerned about the environment. Comparatively lower levels of concern were also reported by people without a non-school qualification (24% not concerned), and people not in the labour force and those aged 65 and over (both 23%).
Almost four in ten people (39%) thought the condition of the natural environment was neither good nor bad. People who were born overseas were much more likely than people born in Australia to say that the state of the natural environment was good (43% compared with 24%).
Almost nine out of ten people expressed concern about water shortages (89%). Around three-quarters (73%) of the population were concerned about climate change and more than two-thirds (69%) about the accumulation and disposal of household waste (graph 2.8).
Women were more likely than men to be concerned about environmental issues concerning water shortages, climate change and waste disposal. For example, 76% of women were concerned about climate change, compared to 71% of men. People who were employed were likely to be more concerned about environmental issues than those who were unemployed or not in the labour force.
More than five million Australians aged 18 and over (34%) had participated in some form of environmental activity in the 12 months prior to the survey (graph 2.9). However, two out of every three people reported that they had not been involved in any environmental activities during this period. The most commonly reported activity undertaken was signing a petition relating to any environmental issues (17%), followed by donating money to help protect the environment (14%). Only 2% participated in a demonstration or rally on environmental protection.
Those people whose personal gross weekly income was more than $2,000 were more likely to donate money to help protect the environment while those earning less were most likely to be involved by signing a petition on environmental issues (graph 2.10).
Most Australians (88%) reported that they took steps to limit their electricity use in the 12 months prior to the 2007-08 survey. Nearly half (47%) reported that they thought their personal electricity use had decreased in the last 12 months. The most common reasons given for why they thought their electricity use had fallen were that people had tried to conserve energy at home (80%) (graph 2.11).
In 2007-08, more than half of the population (55%) reported that they thought their personal water use had decreased in the 12 months prior to the survey. The most common reason given by people for a decrease in water use was that they had tried to conserve water at home (76%). More than four in ten (42%) said water restrictions had reduced their water use (graph 2.12).
Most Australians (82%) were satisfied with their waste collection services. Most Australians (84%) sorted recyclable from non-recyclable waste materials all or most of the time. One-third (33%) composted or recycled kitchen or food waste all or most of the time and four in ten Australians (41%) used green or reusable shopping bags all or most of the time (graph 2.13).