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Global Warming Fears Worrying UK Youngsters

By ( - April 4, 2007

Worries about global warming is keeping kids awake at night with the extinction of animals top of their fears, according to a new report.

Other dreads include widespread health problems, death and flooding with more than a quarter (28 per cent) blaming politicians for the problems of climate change.

A major survey of 1,150 youngsters aged between seven and 11 found one-in-seven (15 per cent) point the finger at their own parents, saying they were not doing enough to improve the environment.

The most feared consequences of the crisis include widespread health problems and possible death (36 per cent) as well as the eventual submergence of entire countries (29 per cent).

But the greatest concern of all, more than people or places, is the welfare of animals (46 per cent) who kids fret may become extinct if global warming persists.

The extinction of the human race due to global warming is also a worry for 29 per cent of kids while one-in-eight (12 per cent) lament the loss of the seasons.

Children believe Greenpeace are doing most to save the environment (31 per cent) followed by grown-ups (30 per cent), politicians (28 per cent) George Bush (25 per cent), teachers (24 per cent), kids (22 per cent), celebrities (10 per cent), superheroes (six per cent), and nobody (three per cent).

Almost half (48 per cent) are anxious about the effects of global warming with one in 10 (11 per cent) regularly losing sleep over the issue.

While awareness and understanding of recycling is high amongst UK children (86 per cent), 10 per cent still believe it is linked to riding a bicycle. However, seven per cent feel global warming is a positive change, believing summer will last longer as a result.

The study by supermarket Somerfield marks the launch of its new ‘Bags for Life’ scheme which aims to reduce the eight billion plastic bags wasted by UK households each year.

Somerfield spokesman Pete Williams said: “Concerns over our environment dominate the media at present and kids are exposed to the hard facts as much as anybody. While many adults may look the other way, this study should show that global warming is not only hurting the children of the future, its affecting the welfare of kids now.

“By raising awareness amongst today’s young, hopefully we are improving our chances of reaching a solution.”

The reports says the true heroes may be the kids themselves with 15 per cent pestering their parents to reduce carbon emissions. Similarly, two-fifths (40 per cent) plan to lower pollution when they are older by taking the bus instead of a car and nearly one-in-five (18 per cent) expect to holiday solely in the UK to avoid the carbon dioxide emitted through flying.

Mr Williams added: “Somerfield launches its new Bag for Life scheme to reward greener shopping habits. For every five old carrier bags returned to Somerfield, shoppers will receive a free Bag for Life, which is recyclable, holds twice as much and lasts 25 times longer than the average plastic carrier bag.

“And the supermarket is now committed to recycling all the old bags into reusable plastic items.”

Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Local Environmental Quality, said: “Plastic and other disposable shopping bags are a symbol of our throwaway culture. We dump eight billion a year in landfill.

“Consumers already have the option of reusing old bags and refusing new ones, but retailers have an important role to play by supporting their customers in making those choices and helping them to change their behaviour.”