Life Style

Parents consider themselves greener than their children

Is this one of the positive effects of our dark times? The sensitivity of the French to ecological questions seems to be reinforced by the health crisis. In addition to the animal issues linked to the appearance of the coronavirus, it is the relationship between humans and nature that has marked people’s minds. “During the first confinement, the slowdown in human activity and its positive effects on the environment generated a halo of imagination, around the relationship with nature”, analysis Julien Goarant, research director at BVA Opinion.

A study carried out by his institute for the Association of Parents of Free Education (Apel) and The cross (1) in any case highlights the very strong attention of parents in matters of ecology, respect for others and the common good. “Awareness in the broad sense, man and planet being inseparable. This should encourage us to work on the coherence of the link between respect for nature and human respect, in the spirit of the encyclical Laudato si ‘“, comments Gilles Demarquet, President of Apel (2).

92% of parents attentive to waste reduction

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, respect for others and for the common good attracts the most attention (95%). But ecological issues are not neglected, since 92% of parents say they are attentive to the issue of waste reduction, 91% to educating young people in matters of ecology, eco-responsibility, responsible food and 85 % to the preservation of biodiversity.

Parents consider themselves greener than their children

More surprisingly, parents feel that their children are also quite attentive to it, but in a slightly more reserved manner. This corrects the idea that the younger generations are the most aware, in a context marked by strong social injunctions (“Taking your car is bad”, “eating meat is not good”, etc.). “These are the 35-49 year olds who have matured with the emergence of these subjects who think that their children are at the same level of maturity as them. Unlike older parents and their children, a little less attentive to these themes ”, adds Julien Goarant.

→ READ. Ecological crisis, how to raise children without depressing them

Make ecology a subject of education and pedagogy

Another lesson learned from the study: a good third of parents expect the school to engage as a priority on issues related to ecology, sustainable development (80%), respect for others and the common good (88 %). By making it both a subject of education and pedagogy. And an object of experimentation, with the implementation of concrete actions such as waste reduction, the implementation of eco-responsible food in the canteen, the reduction of the carbon footprint, thanks to the insulation of its premises, for example. Finally, in terms of ecology, around 8 out of 10 parents consider that their role is to get involved. And they are ready to do it, whether in terms of respect for others and the common good (64%), of waste reduction (64%). “Parents feel legitimate to help the school, they want to be involved, and are ready, for that, to invest themselves personally”, comments Julien Goarant.

→ MAINTENANCE. “The climate transition needs all generations”

Good news, but probably also a way of saying that school is not moving fast enough. Or that some educational issues involve their own responsibility. “Getting involved is influencing the decision. Wanting to help the school is also wanting to control it. Undoubtedly, this commitment will have to find its framework and its limits ”, completes the director of studies.


“My parents don’t understand the urgency”

Emi, 16 years old

“In 2019, I joined the Youth for Climate movement. My parents had told me about global warming, but it was rather me who awakened their ecological awareness. This has shaken up their habits and created conflicts. I became a vegetarian in a family where we ate a lot of meat. I asked not to turn on the heaters in October. My little brother reacted badly because he thought that I wanted to impose my convictions. I did it wrong. You have to start by explaining and making compromises. At the table, discussions are lively, with disagreements on the means used, such as civil disobedience or rebellion. My parents fear that all of this is taking me too far. They don’t understand the urgency. “

(1) Survey carried out online by the BVA institute, from November 12 to 15, 2020 with a representative sample of 702 parents of children from kindergarten to higher education.

(2) Apel is organizing a virtual round table on the theme “The planet in danger: what findings and what actions to take together? », On December 4 at 5 pm, in the presence of Jean-Louis Étienne, doctor and explorer, Véronique Fayet, president of Secours Catholique, Jacques Brégeon, director of Chedd Bretagne, Sister Cécile Renouard, president of the Campus de la transition. Information:


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