Nine in 10 teens are concerned about the environment: survey

They're greener than you think
Neo Chai Chin, Today Online 8 Dec 09;

SINGAPORE - If the findings of the latest survey by a teenage-centric company are an indication, young Singaporeans are keeping abreast of developments at the ongoing Copenhagen climate change conference via the media.

Nine out of 10 teens surveyed by makers of the virtual reality world Habbo claim to be concerned about protecting the environment, and 96 per cent agree it is their responsibility to take care of Mother Earth.

In seeking future employment, they consider helping the environment and the community "vital" attributes that companies should possess.

The survey on teens' environmental habits was one of eight done by Habbo in July and August, and an average of 1,100 Singapore youth aged 12 to 18 - sometimes dubbed Generation Z - were polled in each survey.

The results show that teens here want to take action to save the Earth, said Mr Ken Lim, country manager of and Sulake, Habbo's creator.

For instance, four out of 10 respondents said they had donated to carbon offset programmes, and use reusable grocery bags when shopping with their parents.

Seven out of 10 said that they recycle "all the time".

While sceptical about some of the numbers, executive director of the Singapore Environment Council Howard Shaw said the teens' attitudes were encouraging.

"I don't think there is a sufficient market for carbon instruments and carbon offset platforms to warrant that sort of volume (found in the survey)," said Mr Shaw.

"Logically they should know how much carbon they're producing in the first place, in order to then go and make a pledge to offset. And I think it's very early days to offset at this level."

But carbon offsets could have been interpreted as simply "planting a tree sometime during their academic career".

The proportion of consumers who use eco-friendly grocery bags was also higher than the average of 10 per cent that the SEC has observed.

What the survey has captured, however, is youthful enthusiasm for the green cause - this can be attributed to education efforts by the Government and eco groups from a young age, Mr Shaw said.

From fewer than 20 green clubs in schools in 1996, there are "a few hundred" today.