Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots has announced the launch of the Environmental Engagement Index for Northern Ireland.
The Environmental Engagement Index is unique to Northern Ireland as we lead the way in exploring engagement and connection to nature by using this yearly survey. Research has shown that if people are engaged with nature they are more likely to look after it.
A baseline survey has already been completed to look at how connected the people of Northern Ireland are with their environment across a wide range of demographics such as age and gender. The results of this will be used to track changes in the relationship between society and nature over time using an annual survey.
The fun part is being able to find out your own engagement score and compare it to that of your friends and family, as well as to the Northern Ireland score. You can do this by answering the same questions online. You can find it on the Live Here Love Here homepage or by searching for EEI Northern Ireland. This web application will also point you to some great places in your local area so you can discover new ways to enjoy our beautiful natural environment.
Launching the index, the Minister said: “I am delighted to launch this new index and look forward tracking the progress of environmental engagement in future years. There is definitely room for improvement with only 63% of respondents believing their actions affect the environment but I want everyone to realise their actions affect our environment. The compassionate nature of the people of Northern Ireland has never been more evident than the level of care they have shown to each other during this pandemic and we now need to show the same level of care for our environment.”
The Minister added “When asked what the government should prioritise the largest response was for climate change and I have listened. That is one of the reasons I recently launched a consultation on a Climate Change Bill and I would urge everyone to get involved in the consultation as well as going online and taking the environmental engagement index survey.”
The Index was developed in a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB), Queens University Belfast (QUB) and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).