Discussion: Are people doing enough to stop climate change?

BBC Scotland posted this article back in March, exploring why people aren’t doing more about climate change.

The article supports some discussions we’ve been having on the Bulb Community, such as cost presenting a barrier to transitioning to electric vehicles: Discussion: Will we see a noticeable shift to electric vehicles in the next 10 years?

The article quotes Dr Sarah Ivory from the University of Edinburgh, who points out that “We have people say, ‘why should we change now?’. I think the answer to that is, if we don’t change now, we really are on a pathway to some catastrophic changes in our climate.”

This emphasis on individual action can be frustrating, especially since systemic and corporate change are required to make a meaningful impact on the climate crisis. This combined with the varying efficiency of individual changes, such as smart homes can make individual efforts seem futile.

The individual change we can make with the greatest short-term benefit would be reducing meat consumption, and government advisors have backed this with the suggestion we should reduce meat consumption over the next 10 years. But, as the article points out, 30% of people surveyed said they would not follow this advice.

Similarly, issues with pricing have discouraged people from adopting greener alternatives in their own homes, such as heat pumps. 64% of the people surveyed said cost put them off.

Research quoted in the article suggests ‘only 32% of people have been influenced by [climate change] protests to make lifestyle changes for the benefit of the planet… and 29% believe the actions of individuals have only a minor impact, or no impact at all, on tackling the issue.’

Do you believe we should aim to do everything we can for the environment on an individual level? Or do you think the change needs to come from the top first? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts.