Why Have People Stopped Giving A S*** About The Planet ?

Has anybody been feeling like us? Like the environmental movement has had some of the wind taken out of its sails?

Over the last few months – as hard as we tried to avoid it – we couldn’t help but notice a huge shift. The power, passion and momentum that the environmental movement had just a matter of years ago, seems to have dwindled.

Both online and off, talk about saving the planet appears to have died down. There’s a palpable sense of hopelessness and a lack of direction about what we, as eco warriors, should do next. With all things sustainability not seeming to be so front and centre anymore, it got us wondering exactly what changed.

People have stopped giving a shit about global warming and pollution. But why?

picture1

We’ve all got more immediate concerns

The last few years have been a rollercoaster to say the absolute least…

First up, we can’t not mention the wide-reaching impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, since first cases were discovered in December 2019. Across the globe, including here in the UK, we’ve faced mass lockdowns, law changes and an almost unprecedented loss of life. In the United Kingdom, we’ve had nearly 22 million cases to date.

There’s no denying that this has affected people’s priorities. And understandably so. For a lot of us, thinking about any causes unrelated to Covid was almost impossible. We were focused on making it through each day, with the sense of constant uncertainty. So, even if we wanted to, many of us just couldn’t prioritise our environmental work or activism.

On top of this, the pandemic had a huge impact on mental health. It’s said that anxiety increased by 25%, only adding another reason why focusing on sustainability may have been a challenge.

Sadly, Covid-19 is only the start of the uncertainty and difficulties that the world has faced in recent times. The ongoing war in Ukraine. The need for the Black Lives Matter Movement, following the tragic murders of black Americans. The cases of women like Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

There have been countless, heartbreaking realities that we’ve had to face around the globe, all of which create more immediate concerns than climate change.

Businesses are deceiving us

Greenwashing. As we spoke about in this blog post, it really is everywhere!

This unethical practice is described as “…the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.” (Investopedia).

So, basically, it’s when companies pretend to be more eco than they are, to make a profit.

And it’s safe to say that it’s working! In fact, a recent survey of consumers found that people thought Primark, Amazon and H&M are some of the most sustainable brands out there.

The worrying part of this isn’t simply that brands are taking advantage of their customers, who want to do better by the planet. The most worrying part is that they may be convincing the general public that enough is being done. Global warming, plastic pollution and the plethora of other environmental issues we’re facing are nowhere near being solved. However, if people believe that corporations are making all of the necessary changes to be sustainable, it’s not hard to see why consumers may begin to believe that no further action is needed.

They haven’t stopped caring about the planet. They simply think that we’re doing enough right now!

picture 2

Eco anxiety is everywhere

At the moment, the state of our world can feel all doom and gloom. Especially in regards to sustainability.

It’s no surprise then that “eco anxiety”, or anxious feelings relating to the state of our planet are on the rise: Nearly two-thirds of people said that they felt somewhat or very negatively when they thought about the future of the environment, according to The Office for National Statistics.

If the general public see the downfall of our environment as inevitable – or if thinking about it causes them stress – it makes sense that they may not want to keep it front of mind.

The sense of helplessness

Alternatively, whilst people may believe that things can be done to save the planet, they may not believe they have the power to impact these changes!

The truth is, we’ve all been let down by governments and corporations, time and time again. Even COP-22, which many environmentalists saw as an LED light at the end of the tunnel, just didn’t have the impact it could have had. The United Nations Climate Conference instead led to pledges which, if fully implemented, would still lead to 2.4°C of warming by 2030. This is well above the 1.5°C that is set out in the Paris Agreement. On top of this, the $100 billion 2020 target for support for developing countries’ climate change adaptation was missed.

Without suitable effort from those in power, how are everyday people supposed to remain optimistic about climate change? Helplessness is pretty much inevitable.

picture3

Helplessness. Hopelessness. A lack of clarity regarding what’s actually happening to our planet. There are a whole host of reasons why people may appear to have stopped caring about climate change.

We don’t believe that they truly have, though. We think that this lack of current momentum will shift, as the fog clears.

As a business who are well and truly committed to looking after Mother Earth, before anything else, it’s our job to keep spreading the facts, to help individuals to make change and to pressure those in positions of power to do what’s right. To join us in our fight, be sure to follow us on Instagram and TikTok.