Millions of Brits don’t think their personal actions will make a difference to climate change, a study has revealed.
More than a third (35 percent) consider global warming to be the biggest issue facing the world today – ahead of the Covid pandemic (18 percent) and poverty (15 percent).
But while 80 percent “care” about environmental issues, 46 percent don’t feel equipped to reduce their impact.
And even if they did, one in ten of the 2,000 adults polled don’t think their actions would make a difference.
It also emerged that 30 percent don’t believe politicians care enough about the issue of climate change to implement and vote for laws which will tackle the problem.
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Hannah Rouch, for Gumtree UK, which commissioned the research to launch its “Waste-less Winter” campaign, said: “It’s clear that big businesses and the Government need to take the issue of climate change more seriously.
“It can be hard to see how your personal efforts will make a difference when they see pollution and waste on such a huge scale, so people are looking to large corporations to set an example.
“But it’s also important to realise that all actions, however small, can make a difference – it soon becomes a big action if millions of people join together to do the same thing.”
The study also found that nearly half (51 percent) claim recent events such as COP26 and the launch of the Government Net Zero Strategy have made them consider environmental and climate issues more seriously.
However, one in seven (14 percent) admitted the opposite is true, while nearly one in ten said they weren’t sure what COP26 even was.
Deforestation is considered the biggest cause of environmental and climate issues by 38 percent of those polled, followed by plastic pollution (35 percent), and reliance on fossil fuels (35 percent).
But 28 percent think consumerism and people buying too many things is to blame for the climate crisis.
As a result, 61 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, admit to being concerned about overconsumption this Christmas.
Despite this, only 41 percent plan to tackle their own overconsumption by planning the presents they need to buy to avoid making panic purchases, and setting a spending limit.
And 79 percent will buy something new this festive season, either for themselves or to give as a present.
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But while many will try to donate or recycle their old, unwanted items, 37 percent admit they will most likely be thrown away.
Hannah Rouch, from Gumtree, added: “Participating more in the circular economy, which aims to ensure no resource is wasted, and buying second-hand is one of the best ways individuals can try to tackle overconsumption.
“We’ve found that people do truly care about climate and environmental issues – however, there’s a disparity between this and their actions.
“This festive season, we’re calling on the UK to consider whether they can swap the bin for re-commerce and list the things they don’t want for free, so that someone else can enjoy their pre-loved item instead of it heading to landfill or contributing further to emissions by incineration.”
Gumtree has launched a petition to help change how bulky household items are treated by local authorities to reduce the amount that is sent to landfill, which can be signed here.