93% of Surveys Really Get on My Goat

I got up in grumpy old man mode today as my 2 month old son has decided to try nocturnality as a lifestyle choice. Wading through pages and pages of dull press releases and news stories looking for some gems for this column has made me even grumpier. But what's really riling me today is the plethora of "surveys" demonstrating that a majority of Brits are either going green quite happily or think that it is far too expensive or whatever. It was that great sage Vic Reeves who said that "87% of statistics are made up". He wasn't kidding (well he was, but you know what I mean).

For example, according to B&Q, one in five homeowners would be investing in energy efficient DIY options over Easter. One in five? In a warm springtime? Pull the other one. If we were changing behaviour at this rate we'd have this climate change malarky sorted in a couple of years.

The important phrase in the above is "according to B&Q". All these surveys are carried out to create a bit of publicity - if you can get one of these 'facts' on TV or radio news, it's worth a small fortune in advertising - and it portrays B&Q as more green than their competitors (which they are to be fair). This headline chasing means that a strong message is more important than objectivity. If you read the full B&Q press release, the 'research' appears to say that one in five of us are thinking about being more energy efficient, which is a long way from actually doing something. That's not good news, that's a bit pathetic.

And now I've cheered up your Monday, I'm off to lie down in a darkened room.

Gareth
Eco-living Blog
Terra Infirma

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