The Guardian: Few willing to change lifestyle to save the planet, climate survey finds (3)

11 November, 2021

I think this news item presents a false picture. The implication is that people are not prepared to change despite knowing how serious climate change is and will be. I accept the latter (multiple surveys have shown this) but not the former. I think that people reject the idea that change should come about through their own efforts. This is the view that many governments put forward. But if the government gives guidance and makes change much easier - through grants for home insulation, putting up the costs of driving and flying and reducing the costs of public transport, banning cars from city centres and making cycling much easier and safer, and altering agricultural subsidies to make meat more expensive and local organic growing more viable - then I am certain that the majority of the public would change and the others will follow. They just don't want to be the first ones to adopt a different lifestyle, and don't want to pay more which is usually the case at present, if you choose to live a low carbon lifestyle. So I'm optimistic that with good government, people will change. But I'm pessimistic about how many of us will have sufficiently good government to provide an adequate lead.

Tony Waterston

HIFA profile: Tony Waterston is a retired consultant paediatrician who worked mainly in the community in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He spent 6 years working in Zambia and Zimbabwe and directed the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Diploma in Palestinian Child Health teaching programme in the occupied Palestinian territories. He was an Editor of the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics and is on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Social Pediatrics. His academic interests are child poverty, advocacy for child health and children's rights. He is currently the lead moderator of CHIFA (HIFA's sister forum on child health and rights). He is also a member of the HIFA Steering Group.

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