Eco-conscious Brits fear their own actions won't make a difference to climate change, survey reveals

MILLIONS of Brits don’t think their personal actions will make a difference to climate change.

A study of 2,000 adults found 35 per cent consider global warming to be the biggest issue facing the world today – ahead of the COVID pandemic (18 per cent) and poverty (15 per cent).

But while 80 per cent ‘care’ about environmental issues, 46 per cent don’t feel equipped to reduce their impact.

And even if they did, one in 10 don’t think their actions would make a difference.

It also emerged that 30 per cent don’t believe politicians care enough about the issue of climate change to implement and vote for laws which will tackle the problem.

Hannah Rouch for Gumtree UK, which commissioned the research to launch it’s ‘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 they 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 per cent) claim recent events such as COP 26 and the launch of the Government Net Zero Strategy has made them consider environmental and climate issues more seriously.

Although one in seven (14 per cent) admitted the opposite is true, while nearly one in 10 said they weren’t sure what COP 26 even was.

TACKLING OVERCONSUMPTION

Deforestation is considered the biggest cause of environmental and climate issues by 38 per cent of those polled, followed by plastic pollution (35 per cent), and reliance on fossil fuels (35 per cent).

But 28 per cent think consumerism and people buying too many things is to blame for the climate crisis.

This saw 61 per cent of those polled via OnePoll admit to being concerned about overconsumption this Christmas.

Despite this, only 41 per cent 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 per cent will buy something new this festive season, either for themselves or to give as a present.

But while many will try to donate or recycle their old, unwanted items, 37 per cent 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.

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