At a glance
- In the 2020 representative survey, 19 % said they were actively involved in environmental protection and nature conservation. In 2018, the figure was 12 % and in 2016 6 %.
- Thus, the indicator shows a positive trend since 2018.
- This development was also reflected in the increased share (between 2016 and 2018) of people who could imagine being actively involved in environmental protection and nature conservation. This share was not recorded for 2020.
Our behaviour has an impact on nature and the environment – whether through our work, our leisure activities or the journeys that we make. An ongoing environmental awareness study (in German only) published every two years by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the German Environment Agency indicates that environmental protection is of great importance to German society (UBA 2021). This study regularly inquires views on environmental policy and environmental protection.
Environmental protection is driven not only by policy, but to a large extent by the work of volunteers. The indicator illustrates the potential for voluntary work in the environmental sector and the number of people already actively involved in environmental associations or similar. Temporary, local environmental projects and activities are particularly relevant for future involvement.
Assessing the development
The indicator shows a positive development: In 2020, 19 % of the representative sample said they were actively involved in environmental protection and nature conservation. In 2018, the figure was 12 % and in 2016 6 %.
Prior to 2018, the trend was mixed. Between 2006 and 2016, the share of people reporting active engagement in environmental protection and conservation varied between 6 % and 9 %. The share of people who reported being involved ranged from 35 % to 48 %. This figure rose to 51 % in 2018; this fraction was not recorded in 2020.
A high level of environmental awareness is not only essential for a sustainable way of living. It is also an important driver for robust environmental policy which can adequately protect natural resources. Thus, voluntary involvement and participation should be further supported by environmental policy. In addition, it is necessary to demonstrate different ways how to strengthen voluntary work for an ecologically as well as socially sustainable transition in other areas of civil society engagement.
The environmental awareness study has been conducted every two years since 1996. The purpose of this representative survey is to chart the environmental attitudes and behaviour of the German population. In 2014 the survey was conducted online for the first time and since, young people in the 14 to 17 age bracket are included. More information on the survey methodology can be found in the publication ‘Umweltbewusstsein in Deutschland 2018’ (UBA, BMU 2019, in German only).
More detailed information: 'Umweltbewusstsein und Umweltverhalten' (in German only).