This is a periodic survey of the Austrian population with year-specific focuses on risk perception. The focus in 2019 was on climate change. As in the previous two years, the topics of environmental pollution, climate change and social inequality are particularly worrying. Compared to 2018, concern has increased for environmental pollution, climate change, data protection, genetic engineering, digitalization of all areas of life, and food safety. For social inequality, food quality and supply, epidemics, and energy supply, public concern has not changed. On the issue of environmental pollution, the main concerns are the effect of pesticides on the environment, environmental pollution from industry, the amount and handling of waste, the loss of natural habitats, and land sealing and consumption. Compared to 2018, a slight increase in concern can be seen in almost all environmentally relevant areas. Concern has remained unchanged for land sealing and consumption, loss of semi-natural living areas, air quality and water quality. With regard to health and nutrition, Austrians are particularly concerned about microplastics in food, the effects of chemicals and pollutants, and antibiotic residues. Natural plant toxins, radioactivity and pathogens such as the flu virus or West Nile virus are of least concern in this topic. On the issue of climate change, dwindling glaciers, droughts, and introduced insects, pathogens, fungi, and plants cause the most concern. The fewest respondents are concerned about new diseases for humans and introduced plant and animal species. With regard to measures to combat climate change, the purchase of regional and seasonal products, the separation of waste and the use of public transport and bicycles are judged to be particularly effective. Giving up meat completely or consuming less milk and dairy products is rated as least effective. In terms of behavioral changes to combat climate change, respondents are most likely to cook more often without semi-finished and finished products, prefer organic products, spend more on local and seasonal products, and fly less. The least popular measures are heating less in the winter and taking up less living space. For the first time in 2019, the Internet is the most popular source of information on risk topics, followed by the traditional media of television, newspapers, magazines and radio. The proportion of Austrians who change behavior both in the short term and in the long term after reading risk reports is down compared to 2017 and 2018, especially among the male population. On the other hand, the proportion of those who do nothing despite concern has increased. Female Best Agers are most likely to change their behavior permanently after reading risk reports.
Environment & Health Risk Barometer 2019
Last updated: 14.09.2022