Move over Millennials: Baby Boomers are more environmentally-conscious

Feb 29, 2020
Baby Boomers are more environmentally conscious than Millennials, research has shown. Source: Getty

Millennials are often the ones shouting from the rooftops about the need to protect the environment, but it seems they should be taking some advice from their parents, with a new study revealing Baby Boomers are the leading generation in green living.

Research from Avivia found when asked about their climate-conscious actions, over-55s were already taking steps in almost every category.

Of the 4,000 UK adults questioned as part of the survey, 84 per cent of boomers said they recycle their waste, while 66 per cent avoid single-use plastic and 47 per cent only buy seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Boomers also showed loyalty to locals by shopping at stores in their area for produce (63 per cent), saved energy by using LED light bulbs (88 per cent) and grew their own vegetables (37 per cent). Their environmentally-conscious nature is also influencing their choice of brands to purchase, with 68 per cent claiming they are more likely to pick brands with sustainable or climate-aware credentials.

“Green living and climate-conscious behaviours are often seen as the domain of the young, but this research suggests that older people are quietly leading the charge and taking steps to care for the planet,” Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Sustainability for Avivia said.

“Whether we’re reducing plastic, growing our own food, or reducing how often we travel – or even what we purchase or how we invest our money – we can all take small steps which can add up to a big difference.”

However, there was one notable exception to the trend, with only a small number of boomers choosing to go down the vegan path and stick with a plant-based diet. Only 2 per cent of over-55s said they followed a vegan diet, compared to 9 per cent of under-25s who eat purely plant-based products.

Plant-based diets have become increasingly popular in recent years and one which many young adults have turned to, with some parents even choosing to raise their children with no access to animal products. This is concerning, according to a nutritionist from the UK, who recently warned that fad vegan diets could be putting brain health at risk.

Writing in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Dr Emma Derbyshire said a plant-based diet lacks choline – an essential nutrient for brain health. It’s mainly found in beef, eggs, dairy products, and chicken, with much lower levels found in nuts, beans and vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts.

According to Derbyshire, moving away from diets high in animal products could negatively impact your brain health.

In 1998 the US Institute of Medicine recommended minimum daily intakes of choline, ranging from 425mg per day for women to 550mg per day for men, and 450mg per day and 550mg per day for pregnant and breastfeeding women, respectively

But Derbyshire said national dietary surveys in North America, Australia and Europe show that choline intake, on average, falls short of these recommendations, which she said was concerning.

She said more needs to be done to educate healthcare professionals and consumers about the importance of a choline-rich diet. “If choline is not obtained in the levels needed from dietary sources per se then supplementation strategies will be required, especially in relation to key stages of the life cycle, such as pregnancy, when choline intakes are critical to infant development.”

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