‘Sustainability Should be Taught in Our Schools’

Lincolnshire parents calling for more to be done in schools to help families adopt a sustainable lifestyle and protect the planet.

Liam (38) and wife, Angela, from Crowland near Peterborough are among 40 per cent of parents claiming life with children prevents them adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.

Ahead of Earth Day on April 22 2024, new research from the UK’s largest gas distribution network, Cadent, shows two thirds of households are still struggling to be sustainable.

The  ‘Energy Diaries: Fair Sustainability’ report captures feedback from over 2,000 UK households and shows that those making the effort to be more sustainable are only doing so to save money.

Parents like Liam and Angela are finding it difficult to instil environmentally-conscious behaviours with their children without the message being reinforced in school.

 

Liam commented: “As our two kids grow older and their lives become busier, we’ve found it really difficult to reduce our energy use as a family. We try to educate them but it’s quite a challenge to convey the importance of being eco-friendly when this message isn’t being reiterated in other settings, like school or college. 

“As adults, we’re conscious of what we’re doing so we try to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling and reusing what we can. But the time our children spend in the shower, or drying their hair, can feel like an age and it’s this blasé attitude we want to change. Sustainability is a stem subject, so it can be taught in maths, science, tech and home economics and we need to be doing that for our young people in the UK.”

Cadent’s data, in partnership with Thinks Insight, reveals that 44 per cent of households making the effort to be more sustainable have only been prompted by the cost of living crisis. Changes include turning the heating down, using less water, buying second hand clothes and furniture, or switching to more sustainable brands.

However, with Liam’s 11-year old daughter and 19-year old son both attending sports clubs and gym classes most weeknights plus PE lessons peppered throughout the School week, the washing machine is on most days.

Liam added: “There’s a lot we can’t compromise on, particularly cleanliness and convenience for our sporty kids. I also run four times a week, so on top of the kids’ activities, we have a lot of sportswear in the house and if they’re not washed properly at warm temperatures, they start to smell.”

 

Mark Belmega, Director of Social Purpose and Sustainability at Cadent, commented: “While some households are taking steps to reduce energy usage, they’re doing so to save money and it involves sacrificing valuable time and convenience, something that busy families are less likely to do. There’s also a further battle to be had to encourage energy-saving habits amongst young people.

“But it’s crunch time for net zero and UK households need help to become greener while also juggling these time and cost pressures. It’s crucial industry, government and the wider business community collaborate to support all customers with their energy transition journey, no matter their living situation. 

“Our Energy Diaries project is a strong step towards helping our customers live more affordable, energy-efficient lives. Exploring their experiences first-hand enables us to co-create solutions to achieve a more affordable, sustainable future.” 

 

As the UK’s largest gas distribution network and a provider of a critical service to over 11 million customers, Cadent has a responsibility to help keep people safe, warm and independent in their homes. The Energy Diaries series follows the real-life experiences of consumers and their energy use, with the latest study focusing on sustainability against the cost-of-living backdrop.

 

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