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NOW CLOSED Universal Children's Day: Why in the UK are we less optimistic about global issues than developing countries - share your views - you could win a £100 voucher

(108 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Nov-13 12:04:41

Mumsnet are working closely with Unilever (now a member of our family friendly programme!) to provide opinion on a number of sustainability projects.

On Monday we asked whether your children inspired you to live more sustainably? Thanks for all the responses.

And today (Wednesday) Unilever say "Today is Universal Childrens Day and research from Unilever Project Sunlight reveals that 6 in 10 children are worried about global issues, but in spite of this remain twice as optimistic about the future than their parents. In fact, UK parents were less optimistic than those in developing countries"

So the additional question today is why do you think we are less optimistic in the UK?

Let us know on this thread your views on both questions and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 Sainsbury's voucher.

Thanks and good luck


GetKnitted Fri 21-Feb-14 20:05:11

Hi Unilever,

Thanks ever so much for the voucher. We were really thrilled to have won and it will mean party treats for DS1's party are less of a worry.

Thank you!

GetKnitted Mon 17-Feb-14 20:47:53

Thanks AnnMumsnet, I didn't mean to sound so entitled!! I will say a big thank you to everyone if it arrives smile

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Feb-14 14:06:33

GetKnitted - a million apologies - I have chased them again for you

GetKnitted Sun 16-Feb-14 23:08:59


I appreciate that you are now 'family friendly' but please would you kindly be friendly to my family and send us the £100 gift voucher as promised. 3 months is plenty of time to put something in the post.




AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 02-Dec-13 10:22:12

Thanks for all the comments: GetKnitted wins the £100 Sainsbury's voucher. Well done.

Snoozie101 Sun 01-Dec-13 22:37:35

I try to live an Eco friendly life within reason. However the "green" option doesn't always turn out to be the real deal.

I try to use products until they are worn out, rather than just because I fancy a change.

We are more pessimistic because we know that the small changes we make are just a drop in the ocean when the developing world is churning out so much pollution.

NumptyNameChange Thu 28-Nov-13 16:16:50

still selling skin bleach too i believe.

clubnail Thu 28-Nov-13 15:17:13

Unilever, still testing on animals. Awful company. Do I win?!

Patchouli Wed 27-Nov-13 21:02:02

Guilt perhaps?

tinypumpkin Wed 27-Nov-13 19:46:39

I do think that having children has made me more aware of environmental issues or at least more committed to doing my part with this. It's my children's future and their children's future etc. Somehow that makes it more real I suppose in terms of my responsibility. I am better with food waste, turning off appliances and recycling. It matters.

I am not sure why we are so pessimistic. Another op mentioned that as a nation we are pessimistic and I think that is too. I also think it is because the size of the problem can be so overwhelming. That makes it feel unmanageable I suppose. It's the little things that we all do that matter though.

MollyBerry Wed 27-Nov-13 18:12:13

children in general make me think about living more sustainably - the world is there for them and without taking action now it may be a grim life which I don't want.

Probably less optimistic because we're a bunch of cynical somethings (can't think fo the word). Also we've seen change over time how things have got worse and all th political arguing meaning that big policy change takes years to happen and grass roots stuff is not as effective as lots of people dont care/take note

kateandme Wed 27-Nov-13 03:12:28

we know what damage we have done.the kids now are having to make up for it with all these green projects.
i would say people in developing countries havenmt had the luxeriues we took for granted so have always had to work hard for there we rubbished our own world and are now paying the price ias things slowly get harder and more difficult.

FoofFighter Tue 26-Nov-13 21:05:27

Aside from all the usual things like recycling etc I cloth nappy/wipe admittedly more because of the financial savings, but eco-friendly does have a look in too ;) I find it horrific that the disposable nappies I wore as a child are still lurking around and will be when I have been dead over 100 years. If we keep doing this then there'll surely be no room left for humans and wildlife in the not too distant future. I don't want that world for my baby and my baby's babies.

I am actually optimistic that things will change though. (can't speak for DD she is 15wks old!)

NettleTea Tue 26-Nov-13 12:56:55

DS always reminds me to recycle, to not waste and to remember plastic bags. both kids are keen on growing their own veg.
DS had cloth nappies, and we have just bought more for our friends newborn. Im known as the nappy lady at our local primary!!

Meanderer Tue 26-Nov-13 11:51:27

probably because of daily exposure to media - TV, papers etc - we're more aware of what's happening globally. Also might be part of our collective personality though!

janeyh31 Mon 25-Nov-13 22:25:05

We as a family try & recycle what we can & try & get my girls to understand why. The girls also learn a lot about the environment & bring green at school & have recently taken part in an initiative with edf energy to understand about energy sources etc

MyMillsBaby Mon 25-Nov-13 15:47:26

I certainly want to live longer now I'm a parent. I'm also very aware that my son watches what I do around the house, so am more conscious of how I recycle, throw out the rubbish (and so forth) as a result.

In regards to why we're less optimistic about green issues here in the UK... I think we have the power of advertising to thank for that. With media so much more readily accessible here in the UK, everyone has been exposed to a green message at least once in their lifetime.

alice93 Mon 25-Nov-13 15:10:53

So far I don't have children, I'm expecting my first now, but I know that having children will inspire me to live more sustainably simply because of the creativity that comes along with it. From recycling things for art work to growing garden vegetables - I simply cannot wait until my baby is old enough and that I am no longer a student myself so I can have a garden to do this!
As a student of international politics, I do believe that there is not much to get countries to be more sustainable, so if our children can teach us how, or at least be our incentive, then I believe a greener world could be possible.

SolidGold Mon 25-Nov-13 14:59:18

On Monday we asked whether your children inspired you to live more sustainably?

Not really, I have lived abroad where they do a lot more for the environment, so I am used to being very careful and I always recycle everything I can, reuse what I can, sell or buy second hand if possible, freecycle things if I can't sell them. I don't litter or waste water or electricity.

So the additional question today is why do you think we are less optimistic in the UK?

I think the whole of the UK isn't very optimistic at the moment, we have too many problems to worry about, life is becoming increasingly hard financially and we are all trying to stay afloat and look after ourselves.

Add to that all the things we read about big companies polluting the seas etc and our little efforts to recycle and live carefully seem to not make a difference.

Cherryjellybean Mon 25-Nov-13 11:46:10

Having my daughter, has made us live more sustainably. We have moved within walking/ cycling distance of work. I have had more time to try grow more fruit and veg ( although lots has failed!) and we try buy local when we can. We recycle but There is so much more we should do.

I think some of the pessimism is down to being realistic like others have said and a cultural thing. We don't give enough praise for the things in the country that are great. Eg our water systems,

DziezkoDisco Mon 25-Nov-13 10:30:39

You're asking why the UK is more pessimistic than other places in the world. I have a bit of a theory that might make sense.

Part of it is that we are in the top 10 % of richest countries, we competely and utterly take for granted basics such as clean usable water, access to amazing healthcare, free schooling, a benefits system, a house, a care system etc. they are by o means perfect but few people die from dysentry because they have to drink out of the same water that an open sewer runs into. No one, unless through neglect, dies in this country from malnutrition.

We dont have the same terrible worries as most of the world. People struggle with money here, but no where near on the scale as the majority of the world. Where they if you have no money your children die.

If you live in abject povety you need to be optimistic or you would just give up and you wouldnt live.

Also we used to be the richest country in the world lording over everyone, thinking we were superior, we lost that and have drop down in wealth and qualilty of life. We are well educated and can see how powerless we are to do anything against the huge coporations that are fucking up our world (hello unilever).

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Mon 25-Nov-13 00:21:29

We are more pessimistic because we have access to the technology that being relatively affluent brings, and therefore subject to the media reporting of the realities of life on a daily basis, and these days 24 hours a day.

I remember clearly being a teenager in the late 80's/early 90's when being green was cool and we thought we could save the rainforest/whale/panda etc...I also have norne witness since then to more rainforest destruction, global warming, ocean depletion, a huge rise in consumerism, an unfathomable rise in air travel and fashion for huger and huger cars that have only served to push the planet closer to the brink. Despite all our knowledge, and our power to change things, we seem hellbent on destroying the place we depend on for our existence. We realise what trouble we are in yet we choose to ignore it and continue...or even up the stakes against ourselves.

We personally are living very sustainably...i now if and when the shit hits the fan climate change wise we are going to be in a better position than most as we are slowly getting ourselves 'off the grid'. i see a lot of people distracted by the bread and games of modern trapping and i wonder where we went wrong as a soecies.

I'm NOT a doom merchant ( though i realise i sound like one) and I'm generally considered an optimist by most people. But this is such a stark and apparent truth to me that I'm buggered if I can understand why everyone can't see it.

zimbamummy Sun 24-Nov-13 16:46:42

I have always tried to recycle and we have our own compost heap & veg patch. Both of my DS are very young at the moment so not really aware of the implications although they are starting to understand that wasting water (one of my major bugbears) is important. The name's probably a bit of a giveaway but I grew up in Africa and am often shocked by how blasé people are with this resource.

OPeaches Sun 24-Nov-13 11:09:12

I think, as a nation, we are incredibly pessimistic. It's a cultural thing so is a cycle hard to break.

That said, I do recycle everything where I can. Our council have provided us with four bins (so fugly!) - landfill, garden an food waste, plastic and metal, paper and cardboard - as well as a small food bun for indoors. It makes recycling so much easier, and I feel like I'm doing my wee bit towards a greener planet.

gingercat12 Sun 24-Nov-13 10:53:14

I think being and looking optimistic is a bit frowned upon. As gazzalw we are also more aware of the issues, and our children's future does not look a barrel of laugh. They can look forward to never being able to afford a home and fight unwinnable wars over resources, while our generation is expected to work till we drop and expect no pension - according to the papers.

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