Survey reveals nature concern


Public concern about biodiversity may be on the rise, a new survey suggests.

The 2019 Scottish Nature Omnibus survey found that 65% of people agree there will be less variety of life in Scotland over the next 50 years, compared to 63% in 2017.

Over the same period, the proportion of adults concerned about Scotland’s biodiversity has increased from 68% to 71%.

In 2019 just over half of respondents (54%) said they felt nature was personally relevant to them, compared to 52% two years ago.

The online survey of 1,101 people reveals a rise in the proportion of people gardening for wildlife (from 42% to 46%) and volunteering (from 21% to 23%).

A bumblebee feeding on a garden sedum. Wolfhill, September 2013.
©Lorne Gill

However there was a slight drop in the percentage saying they were taking action to be a green consumer (72% to 70%) and a green traveller (66% compared to 65%).

The survey found that while a majority of people have heard of SNH, awareness of the organisation’s remit remains relatively low with respondents most likely to associate it with protecting or looking after Scotland’s heritage, culture or history.

From May 1 SNH will rebrand to NatureScot to be more recognisable to the general public as Scotland’s nature agency and the organisation responsible for restoring and enriching our biodiversity.

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “This survey appears to show a growing concern about the many challenges our biodiversity is facing.

“There is no doubt that this is an important moment for the state of nature both at home and globally, and it may be that increased publicity surrounding the declaration of a climate emergency and activists such as Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg is increasingly cutting through to the public.

“However it’s clear from some of the findings that there is still much work to be done to translate awareness into action and encourage more people to do more for our biodiversity.

“As Scotland’s nature agency our mission is to improve our natural environment and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our forthcoming rebrand to NatureScot is a clear statement to the public that nature is at the forefront of everything that we do.

“It will allow us to reach and engage more people on the importance of protecting and enhancing our biodiversity and the role we can all play in ensuring a nature-rich future for Scotland.”