The first Planet B Insights Community Survey results have been released and the insights are amazing!

Earlier this year, we had 46 people from our community share their thoughts about the future of Australia, their actions and how they are making a difference. The purpose of this survey was to understand the views of a range of opinions to help shape the new phase of Planet B Insights. There are some exciting things on the horizon!

A massive thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey! As a big thank you, below are some of the responses so you can see what other people in the community are thinking about.

So what was the result?

Many of these insights may not be revolutionary but it is important to share how our community is thinking, feeling and acting so we can support each other to make change. There is an overall neutral to pessimistic view about Australia’s future with strong negative sentiment towards the federal government and business. The biggest issue facing the community is climate change and there is a strong overall concern at the state of the environment in Australia. Our community is disillusioned by the business and the federal government but sees the opportunity to have a positive impact in our backyards through community action groups, local government and charities.
We need to focus less on the mass media coverage of government inaction and poor business practices and invest in understanding local opportunities for impact. Let’s face it, if we all act at a local level and encourage each other to keep fighting for positive action, then in time those slow bureaucratic systems will catch up. It may not be the coolest or easiest thing to do, but committing to charities and community action groups as well as attending council meetings are all ways we can be part of the solution.

Here is a fun infographic with a summary of the survey!

In more detail, people have mixed feelings about Australia’s future

When asked ‘Thinking of Australia’s future, how do you feel?’ there was a mix of responses, with 50% feeling pessimistic or very pessimistic. The main driver for this was the lack of political leadership and inaction on climate change at a government and business level.

The question was not directly discussing government, however many of the responses focused heavily of the inaction at a federal government level. Some of the feedback about the topic included:

  • Our government is so short sighted and don’t prioritise the environment or tackling climate change.
  • Government isn’t doing enough. They don’t have the long-term vision to do what is right for society. They seem to be power hungry and wanting to please those in their circle that support them being/staying in power.
  • Environmental issues are at emergency levels and completely ignored by government.

The main driver for the pessimism is concern for the environment

The following questions asked how they believed Australia was tracking socially, economically and environmentally.
Overall, there was some (albeit not majority) positive sentiment for both society and the economy however there was only negative sentiment about the state of the environment. 90% of responses believed that Australia is tracking poorly or very poorly with regards to the environment.

For reference these were the terms used:
Economically (eg: wages growth, employment, competitive environment)
Socially (eg: access to services, community support, general health and wellbeing, opportunities)
Environmentally (eg: land management, climate change, waste management, species protection).

Respondents didn’t believe that Australia is performing strongly in any of the 3 core areas. However, Australia is recognised by the UN’s Human Development Index as the third most liveable country globally!

Climate change is the most important issue facing our community

84% of respondents said that climate change is the biggest issue facing Australia now.
The top issues on everyone’s minds are:

  1. Climate Change
  2. Social Inequality
  3. Waste Management
  4. Political Leadership
  5. Housing Affordability
  6. Wealth Distribution
  7. Population Growth
  8. Employment Opportunities

Other topics mentioned by respondents included:

  • Indigenous recognition and equality
  • Gender equality
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Biodiversity and natural ecosystem loss
  • Education

Here is what some of the community said:

  • The government seems to be selling everything off in a bid to get back into the black. Land clearing is at an all time high and we seem to care less about our native animals than any other country. In all honesty I’m ashamed to be an Australian.
  • Positive actions will be taken by government but political football significantly reduces long term investments and what we should do. The private sector hasn’t demonstrated enough to show that they can change the direction that Australia is taking.
  • Lack of focus on environmental issues and diversification of economy.
  • Leadership skills at Federal and Local levels of government is wanting – we need positive/ strong /ethical/ compassionate/ actions to enthuse /inspire / encourage people. And an unbiased media.

Our community is making a difference.

The top activities undertaken by the community to make a difference over the past 12 months was to reduce single use plastic and reduce waste, which is a critical behaviour to curb pollution and climate change.

Actions from the community

Grassroots organisations were perceived to have the biggest impact

Not surprisingly, the Federal Government and Business were seen as the least effective for driving positive social and environmental change. The institutions believed to have the biggest impact are community groups, local governments and charity.
The real takeout here is that we need to focus less on the federal government and big business and look for ways to be involved in areas that are already having a positive.
Instead of despairing about the slow moving policy development at a Federal Government, start volunteering with a local community action group who are solving important issues like climate change.

Most effective institutions according to the Planet B Insights Community

Actions at an individual level are understated

On a personal level, respondents felt empowered to make change but didn’t seem to believe there was a strong impact as a result of their actions. Respondents generally felt positive about their ability to contribute to solving social, economic and environmental challenges.

On a personal level, do you feel empowered to contribute to solving these challenges?

This disconnection between feeling empowered and not truly believing the impact of actions can cause burnout, which is something I experience regularly!

Do you believe that your individual actions can make a difference?

What is next??

It is easy for us to become disillusioned when we focus on news which endlessly discusses government inaction and the lack of business accountability. However, it is evident through the survey that we need to focus on the areas where there is effective impact. Getting involved with local community groups, going to local council meetings and donating to charities are all ways to build connections with likeminded people who are making change. This might be one way to circumvent the feeling of hopelessness and frustration many of us feel when we look at the state of Australia.

Lastly, if you need a boost of energy to continue to tackle the world’s issues here is a guide I wrote recently- The Individual’s Guide To Changing The World. It has some practical tips and insights about how we can keep the momentum at an individual level.

Planet B Insights will continue to evolve as a community dedicated to providing you with information on the issues that matter so you can act like there is no planet B!

If you have any feedback or ideas about how we can continue the momentum for social change please get in touch at planetbinsights@gmail.com and follow us on social media pages which can be found in the footer below!

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