People and Climate Change

As part of this project, I knew I wanted to really consider the way people already think about Climate Change and use that to inform my designs. A big part of my understanding of the brief, and the one thing I really took away from the visit to the Centre for Alternate Technology was that our client really wanted the overall theme of our designs to be that of positivity; things are dire, but there is still a lot we can do as individuals of the developed world (that is to say the cultures that are really screwing over everyone else).

Zero Waste Chef

Whilst researching I came across a quote by well-known blogger Anne Marie Bonneau, under the pen name ‘Zero Waste Chef’ she is known for her writing about zero-waste and offering advice for people new to the idea. Her work has been published in The Washington Post and Vox (Where I came across her) and is well regarded within the sustainability community.

This is a sentiment that I think could help a lot of people, as it has me, feel more confident and positive about making changes instead of guilt and worry about not being sustainable enough all at once. In her blog post about something she calls ‘Environmental Guilt Syndrome’ and discusses that a need to be perfect impedes our progress towards sustainability and can be so paralysing that it often becomes the reason people don’t start at all, I’d like to include this quote and sentiment on my final piece.

With that in mind, I researched what peoples general thoughts and feelings are towards the idea of Climate Change; predominantly younger people, which is my chosen primary audience as well as also having the biggest stake in the climate change crisis.

STATISTICS

  • 84% of surveyed young people agree that they need more information to prevent climate change.
  • 73% of surveyed youth say they currently feel the effects of climate change.
  • 95% think climate change is at least partly due to human activity when asked about relative contributions of human and natural causes. (UK)
  • 36% say climate change is ‘mainly’ or ‘entirely’ due to human activity. (UK)
  • 2% claim that climate change isn’t happening at all. (UK)
  • 31% of 18-34 year olds are “very” or “extremely” worried about climate change compared with just 19% of over-65s.
  • 35% of graduates are “very” or “extremely” worried about climate change compared with just 20% among those without any educational qualifications above GCSE level.

Respondents assessed the chances of reducing climate change on a number of dimensions,
using a scale from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely).

  • On average people give a 4.4 score for the chances that limiting their own energy use would reduce climate change.
  • On average people give a 5.8 score for the chances that climate change would be reduced if large numbers of people reduced their energy use.
  • On average people give a 3.8 score for the chances that large numbers of people will actually limit their energy use.
  • On average people give a score of 4.3 for the chances that governments in enough countries will take action that reduces climate change.
  • “Differences by age and education are reasonably strong and consistent when it comes to beliefs and concerns about climate change and what the government should do about it, but they do not extend to feelings of personal ability to make a difference or their own efforts to save energy.”

References

Bonneau, A. (2019). How to Cope With Environmental Guilt Syndrome (EGS). [Blog] Zero Waste Chef. Available at: https://zerowastechef.com/2019/02/14/how-to-cope-with-environmental-guilt-syndrome-egs/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2019].

Fagan, M. and Huang, C. (2019). A look at how people around the world view climate change. [online] Pew Research Center. Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/18/a-look-at-how-people-around-the-world-view-climate-change/ [Accessed 22 Nov. 2019].

Hagen, R. (2019). Climate Change: Can One Person Really Make a Difference?. [online] Crowdsourcing Sustainability. Available at: https://crowdsourcingsustainability.org/climate-change-can-one-person-really-make-a-difference [Accessed 9 Dec. 2019].

Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. (2019). #YouthStats: Environment and Climate Change – Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. [online] Available at: https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/environment-climate-change/ [Accessed 22 Nov. 2019].

The National Centre for Social Research (2018). Social divisions in beliefs and behaviour. Climate Change. [online] London. Available at: https://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/media/39251/bsa35_climate_change.pdf [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

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