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More than half of Brits are worried about the warm summer ahead

After the hellish heatwaves of last summer, which soared to a record-breaking 40C, two-thirds of people living in Britain are experiencing anxiety about climate change.

It was 2 degrees below zero when Londoners woke up this morning. No doubt, some would’ve uttered anticipatory wishes for the warmer winds of spring and summer as they stepped out for school and work.

But as it turns out, the majority of us are still scarred by the blazing heat waves of 2022. Like the rest of Europe, the UK experienced record-breaking heatwaves that caused reduced public transport services, work-from-home orders from employers, and the death of at least 1,400 people.

Looking back on it, those weeks weren’t so pleasant. I mean, going to the park wasn’t even a vibe! Usual green spaces were totally brown due to the lack of rain and relief was hard to come by as the wind came to a standstill.

It shouldn’t be surprising that eco-anxiety is on the rise amongst Britons who experienced it. In a poll conducted by Friends of the Earth charity, more than two-thirds of people living in the UK say they are concerned about the future of the planet.

Friends of the Earth partnered with celebrities (like Callum Scott Howells of It’s a Sin) to conduct a survey of 1,719 people. As mentioned, their findings revealed that at least two-thirds of respondents regularly worried about the climate crisis.

But there are other interesting disparities amongst voters. Eco-anxiety was higher in women and significantly lower among supporters of the Conservative party. It was also higher in people who voted Remain in the Brexit referendum of 2016.

Looking at specifics, at least 82 percent of Remain voters said they experienced eco-anxiety compared to 57 percent of Leave voters. These figures are reflective the level of climate action taken by the UK, considering our current ruling party is in favour of Brexit and also Conservative.

Surveys aside, we know that worrying doesn’t solve anything. Still, the fact that the Global North has started experiencing serious effects caused by the climate crisis could have a positive spin.

People in wealthier nations have insofar been relatively unscathed by extreme weather events.

This has led to less pressure on political leaders of these nations to implement environmental policies that mitigate the climate crisis, despite many local groups and organisations advocating for justice for the Global South.

Now that the effects of the climate crisis are being felt more frequently and more severely all over the globe, swathes of citizens living in the Global North could join in the fight to advocate for environmental policy and climate justice for the very first time.

With additional privileged voices demanding action, it could force leaders into making vital changes to the status quo.

As the saying goes, ‘something shouldn’t have to happen to you for it to be important to you,’ but unfortunately, in the case of getting certain politicians and people to take climate change seriously, the record shows that it does.

Looking at weather predictions for the year, which say 2023 will be another record-breaking year for global warming, I have to admit I’m absolutely dreading it. But I do hope that experiencing it first-hand for the second year in a row will force policymakers in the Global North into making better decisions.

 

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