Veolia Barometer for the Ecological Transformation – Saudi Arabia

The discourse surrounding ecology has reached a new juncture, struggling to find common ground. While there is a consensus about the risks posed to our planet and humanity, the discussions on solutions to mitigate our impact remain fragmented and inadequately debated.

Amidst the deluge of IPCC reports, climate strategies, and COP discussions, there are a multitude of approaches to combat climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. However, a critical question arises about the acceptability of the changes needed to address what is often dubbed the “battle of the century.” Are these changes socially, economically, and culturally acceptable to human communities?

This pivotal question lies at the heart of Veolia’s Ecological Transformation Barometer, an extensive study spanning over half of the world’s population across five continents. The objective of this barometer is to bring practical substance to public discourse by focusing on concrete solutions and examining the obstacles and catalysts influencing their acceptability, thereby expediting the transition. The study surveyed 1,002 individuals in Saudi Arabia.

Historically fragile countries, marked by low GDP, a history of natural disasters, and essential resource scarcity, now share a profound sense of vulnerability alongside developed nations. Notably, Saudi Arabia stands as an exception, with fewer than half its inhabitants expressing a feeling of ecological and climatic vulnerability (48% of Saudis, compared to the global average of 71%).

The denial of climate change is no longer a prominent topic of discussion. The increasing frequency of “abnormal” phenomena has provided compelling evidence that many had previously refuted or ignored, in defiance of decades of scientific warnings. Now, 85% of the Saudi population shares a firm belief in ongoing climate disruption. The debate primarily revolves around its anthropic origins. In local discussions, 16% advocate the theory of a purely natural phenomenon, while 10% argue it is impossible to identify the cause. Notably, Saudi Arabia is among the seven countries with the highest number of deniers and skeptics, along with the United States, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Finland, where 34% to 39% of the population express climate skepticism.

A significant 57% of Saudis struggle to envision the potential of daily life in the context of ecological transformation: 33% cannot visualize it at all, and 24% have some ideas but find them rather vague. However, the majority, comprising 56%, believe that there has been sufficient discussion about the proposed solutions that should be put into action.

While it may be challenging to envision an everyday life that is “transformed,” a majority of Saudis wish to perceive ecological transformation as synonymous with a “better world.” In this envisioned world, they anticipate living in better health (65%), increased happiness (64%), a higher standard of living (63%), reduced consumption but of higher quality (62%), greater serenity (62%), and increased unity (62%). A slight majority also predicts improved purchasing power (56%).

However, the transformed world is not without its concerns, as 54% of Saudis fear the potential frustration of giving up their current habits.

About the Author

Veolia Group aims to be the benchmark company for ecological transformation. With nearly 220,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides game-changing solutions that are both useful and practical for water, waste and energy management. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and replenish them.

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