9 February 2021
It is reasonable to expect that the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may have put public motivation to tackle climate change on the back burner.
Not so, according to a new survey which hit the headlines recently. From over a million respondents, across 50 countries, more than two-thirds agreed that climate change is a global emergency, requiring an urgent response.
It was music to my ears. We’re dealing with a climate meltdown, while emerging from one of the most significant economic disruptions in living memory and global health pandemic. It’s crunch time for the planet. So, the fact that citizens across the world are demanding action is crucial if we’re going to inspire change.
It didn’t come as a surprise, either. Our own survey of UK citizens revealed that three-quarters of respondents described the climate emergency as ‘urgent’ or ‘pressing’, and agreed that now is the time to invest in a green economic recovery from COVID-19. Two-thirds agreed that climate change is as big a problem for modern society as COVID-19, showing the magnitude of feeling towards tackling the issue.
Taking action to protect the planet is in our DNA at WRAP – and we only act where we can deliver the greatest impact. For example, we won’t stop climate change if we don’t tackle food waste. Wasted food accounts for a staggering six times more greenhouse gas emissions than global aviation. In the UK we’re making progress on this by bringing the entire food system together, working towards common targets and goals, but we need the rest of the world to follow suit.
It’s also important to remind ourselves as individuals that we can all make a difference. We all have a role to play in creating a healthier, safer planet. Simple acts such as not wasting food, recycling as much as we can, and making the most of the clothes we buy add up to powerful collective action. Our forthcoming and first ever Food Waste Action Week will help to shine a spotlight on the link between food waste and climate change, which is not always an easy link for citizens to make. Both surveys show the willingness of people to adopt sustainable behaviours to help protect the planet – we need to give them the know-how which will enable them to act.
It’s a massive year for the climate change agenda. The findings come as the UK gears up for hosting the crucial COP26 event in November, where leaders from across the world will come together to accelerate action on tackling climate change. The global population has demanded an urgent response. COP26 will shine a spotlight on those nations who are stepping up to the plate, and the laggards.
We’re determined to play our part and we recently set our stall out with our ambitious new plan for the next five years. We’re at the forefront of delivering a world where resources can be used sustainably, and we’re always looking for more like-minded partners to join us as we work towards making the world a cleaner, safer place for future generations. The public will accept no less.
A full copy of WRAP’s climate change survey, conducted by Icaro with 2076 respondents from across the UK, can be found at: https://beta.wrap.org.uk/resources/report/attitudes-climate-change-uk-september-2020