Knowledge, apparently, is not always power.
That, least, appears to be the lesson learned from a new study commissioned by IBM, which found that, while Generation Y (18- to 24-year-olds) is the most informed on environmental issues, it’s also the worst offender in the areas of energy awareness and water wastage.
Based on a June survey of 2,014 Britons ages 18 and over, the study found — among other things — that Gen-Y’ers were less likely than the general population to know which appliance consumed more energy: a tumble dryer or an incandescent light bulb (55 per cent of Gen-Y responders didn’t know, versus 43 per cent overall).
The youngest cohort also proved to be the biggest culprit in terms of water wastage. A full 72 per cent admitted to wasting water somehow, whether by leaving the tap on while brushing teeth (56 per cent) or letting the shower run for a few minutes before stepping in (40 per cent)
According to IBM, a typical two-minute teeth-cleaning session wastes approximately 12 litres of water, amounting to 236.8 million litres of water wasted across the nation for just one cleaning session a day per week. Overall, the study found, Great Britain’s consumers spend £1.9 billion a year on unnecessary water and sewage charges.
“The good news is that Generation Y is showing clear concern for environmental issues,” said Jon Z Bentley, energy and environment partner for IBM Global Business Services. “The not-so-good news is that far too few are taking even simple, small steps to control their own wasteful use of resources. This is important not just because of the difference this generation can make today. Climate change and the need to be careful in our use of energy, water and other natural resources are not transient issues. They will be with us for the next 40 years and beyond.”
Bentley continued, “We now have the ability to think and act in new ways, to spot wastage and inefficiency by bringing a new level of intelligence to how the world works. We can effectively sense what is going on around us through connecting the billions of sensors already out there with the growth in computing power and the connectivity we now have to make better decisions. Generation Y are the leaders, consumers and educators of the future. The ability is there to act now so they can sustain and accelerate the changes that we must all bring about quickly.”