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Executive Summary

A CSO Frontier Series Output- What is this?

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This publication is part of a series of releases that the Central Statistics Office (CSO) publishes under the 'Take Part' Campaign. It presents preliminary results compiled from the Pulse Survey 'Our Lives Outdoors' carried out online from the 22nd of April to the 9th of May 2022. This publication explores the relationships that people have with the outdoors and natural spaces in Ireland. It covers the time the respondents spent and the activities they engaged in outdoors and in natural spaces. It also gives information on their concerns about and involvement in the protection of the environment. And finally, it looks into the time they spent and the activities they undertook in their gardens.

Pulse Surveys are usually short and take the ‘pulse’ of the nation about an issue at a point in time. These types of survey ensure that the CSO can provide relevant, timely and insightful data for the public. While results are calibrated to Irish population totals, the findings cannot be generalised to the entire Irish population, as the people who answered the questionnaire were not randomly chosen from the population. The CSO publishes results of Pulse Surveys as frontier publications. To learn more about CSO Frontier Publications, refer to this link.

Spending Time Outdoors

  • Almost all respondents (98%) liked spending time outdoors
  • Of the participants who liked spending time outdoors:
    • The two main reasons reported for spending time outdoors were to get fresh air (87%) and to enjoy nature (85%)
    • The most popular outdoor spaces were 'Beach / Other coastline / Sea' (62%) and 'Urban green space' (59%)
    • Over 90% of participants felt happier (93%) and healthier (92%) after spending time outdoor in natural spaces
  • More than half of the respondents (55%) reported spending more time outdoors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Of those spending more time outdoors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 70% realised that being in natural spaces was important to their well-being
  • One in three participants took up new outdoor activities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Protection of the Environment

  • More than half of the respondents were concerned about climate change (58%) and the pollution of freshwaters and marine waters (57%)
  • Over half of the participants (52%) thought that there is still time to act on environmental issues but that it is unlikely to happen
  • Almost 60% of respondents reported that they reduced the heating of their home in winter (59%) to protect the environment. More than half reduced their use of water (53%).
  • Almost 80% of participants answered 'No' when asked if there are enough green spaces and biodiversity in urban areas

Gardening Activities

  • Over 90% of respondents (93%) had access to a garden
  • More than one in three participants (34%) reported having started at least one new gardening activity, among those listed in this survey, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic