The III Observatory report on lifestyles, an initiative set up in 2015 by LifeGate in cooperation with the Eumetra Monterosa research institute, this year with the patronage of the European Commission and sponsored by Best Western, Ricola, Unipol Group, Vaillant and Lavazza, questioned a sample of one thousand Italians representing the national population on sustainability-related issues, words and concepts.

Among issues considered of greatest importance is smog, a question of interest to 75{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the population, followed by climate change, of concern to 72{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the interviewees.

Action to be taken in order to purse greater sustainability is led by significant investment in renewable energy sources, an issue deemed important by 90{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the survey, followed very closely by improvements to public transport (89{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622}). The geographical breakdown of the survey reflects greatest awareness of environmental issues in north-east Italy, followed by the north-west and centre-south. Other action considered significant relates to public services: 78{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of people feel it is important to invest in low-emission lighting technologies such as LED, 62{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} believe that serious investment in energy efficiency in public buildings is a priority.

Among the different age groups, young people have the greatest environmental awareness and knowledge of the vocabulary of sustainability; in terms of gender, women are more aware than men.

Sustainable habits at home, however, see men in the lead: the male of the species is more attentive and better informed about differentiated waste collection and low-consumption domestic electrical appliances.

Where bills are concerned, almost one third of respondents, 31{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622}, say they would be prepared to spend a little more to purchase energy from renewable sources.

Vaillant, one of the Observatory sponsors, has launched a robot on Facebook Messenger to encourage users to be more sustainable. The robot’s challenges range from not buying products with plastic packaging, to using tap water and not printing out emails and documents that can be viewed digitally.

As a talking cricket, Gaia, the Vaillant robot, is not greatly incisive. The attached photos show how easy it is to appear super-sustainable in its “eyes”.

The important thing is awareness-raising and personal choices, which no one – not even Terminator – can force on us.

Be sustainable, because Gaia (the real Gaia, our planet) will know if you cheat.