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Gen Xers outdo boomers with largest carbon footprint, BC Hydro report finds

More than half of millennials rate baby boomers as the least environmentally conscious generation.
Half of millennials surveyed rated baby boomers as the least environmentally conscious generation.

Baby boomers are the least environment conscious generation while Gen X has the biggest home carbon footprint, new BC Hydro research has found.

The report titled, “Green generation gap: Gen X most resistant to going green at home,” released Oct. 21, found that while baby boomers (58 to 78 years old) once lived in the biggest houses with the most amenities, there is a shift occurring. Now, Gen Xers (42 to 57 years old) are most likely to live in larger, detached single-family homes with bigger greenhouse gas implications.

Why? Because many Gen Xers still rely heavily on natural gas for heating and appliances, and use other gas-powered equipment and tools. The report also notes boomers are often looked upon as the generation that created problems for millennials (aged 26 to 41).

“The average home size of Gen X is between 1,500 to 2,000 square feet — twice as large as millennials,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Susie Rieder. “Bigger homes often mean greater energy use and emissions, especially when it comes to home heating with natural gas, which is often the largest contributor.”

Moreover, boomers are frequently no longer in their large homes, having downsized.

Still, over half of millennials surveyed for the report rated baby boomers as the least environmentally conscious generation.

The research also found while a quarter of Gen X think their generation cares the most about the environment and climate change, over half admitted they could be doing more to reduce their carbon footprint.

Still, the research found when it comes to greening their lives, Gen Xers are significantly less willing to make sacrifices than millennials.

This could be partially attributed to the fact that they are the most likely group to think the impacts of climate change have been exaggerated.

There also seems to be a Gen X disconnect in behaviours.

While many people have embraced recycling and reducing the use of single use plastics, BC Hydro found that Gen Xers are much less willing to give up the gas-powered elements of their lives.

Survey results found that Gen X is nearly 60 per cent less likely to give up driving a gas-powered vehicle than millennials; 90 per cent less likely to give up using gas appliances than millennials; and 60 per cent less likely to give up their gas heating system than millennials.

Further, Gen Xers don’t appear willing to give up gas-powered appliances, water heaters, kitchen appliances, fireplaces, lawnmowers, weed whackers, pressure washers, leaf blowers and patio heaters.

The survey was conducted by Majid Khoury online of 800 British Columbians between Aug. 15 and 18, 2022 with a margin of error +/- 3.46%.

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