FEATURE9 March 2020

Gauging the temperature

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Features Impact UK

Research has found a high level of misunderstanding of the climate crisis and the environment in the UK. Could this be why heightened climate awareness isn’t translating to widespread behaviour change? By Katie McQuater.


‘Climate strike’ is the Collins Dictionary word of the year for 2019. It’s the second year the title has been environment-themed – in 2018, it was ‘single-use’ in reference to the copious amounts of plastic products used just once, ending up in landfill or clogging up our oceans.

In the past 12 months, awareness around plastic waste has reached critical mass and high-profile climate campaigns have made global headlines: namely schoolgirl Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Futures school strikes and the UK’s Extinction Rebellion protests. In May, the UK parliament backed a Labour motion to formally declare an environment and climate emergency.

Sir David Attenborough, who has been instrumental in communicating the issue through the Blue Planet II series, struck a positive tone recently, telling the BBC: “I think we’re all shifting our behaviour.

I think we’re changing our habits, and the world is waking up to what we’ve done to the planet.”

While the human impact on ...