On the pulse: We take to the streets of Richmond to talk climate change

By Joseph Marshall and Rahima Miah
February 6 2020, 15.35

Climate change is one of the major issues of our time.

On one hand there are those in the Greta Thunberg (pictured above) camp who believe we must take immediate and drastic action to prevent an imminent global catastrophe.

On the other there are Donald Trump enthusiasts who deny that changes in the weather and an increase in natural disasters are linked to human behaviour at all.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2035, but many see this as too little too late.

Amidst disruptive demonstrations by extinction rebellion and Australian bush fires burning out of control, SW Londoner took a walk down Richmond high street to canvass the views of the general public – where those we asked gave a unanimous ‘yes’ when asked:

Are you concerned about global warming?

CONCERNED: Jackie Graham says we need to all do a bit to help

Jackie Graham from East Sheen, who is retired, is concerned about climate change ‘for the future generations’.

She said: “If everyone does their little bit it’s going to help.

“It’s going to take years and years and years to educate people not to constantly use their cars, not to constantly heat their homes and check what they’re buying.”

UNDER THREAT: Haggley West thinks we need to change our shopping habits

Haggley West, 27, a charity shop manager, is very concerned about climate change.

He stated: “It’s the biggest threat to humanity.”

Like Jackie he believes that people should change their shopping habits.

He said: “Buying second hand and not buying things new, I think that helps.

He added: “We’ve been having this conversation for decades and nothing has changed.”

James Ramsey, 58, is CEO of Climate Home News, an independent news site that reports on climate stories.

He said: “Twenty years ago I started going to the United Nations climate conferences and I think in the last year it is has become much more in the front of peoples’ minds. People are thinking about it more.

“It was obvious to me there was a problem. People have to change the way they live.”

SCARED: Ellen described climate change as ‘terrifying’

Ellen Wolf, a 24-year-old member of Extinction Rebellion from Staines, said: “It’s terrifying and we’re all going to die.

“It’s only going to get worse if we don’t cut carbon emissions. It’s a really scary concept.”

When asked if she thinks that climate change deniers can be converted she said: “I think it’s possible but I think it takes a lot of work and a particular approach to convince someone that something is true when they don’t believe in it.

“It’s not an easy task but I think it can be done if you approach it the right way and if you approach it with empathy and kindness.”

BALANCE IS NEEDED: Ana largely agrees with the aims of Extinction Rebellion but not always with its tactics

Ana Catarina, a 22-year-old Portuguese national said: “More and more I’m concerned with what’s going on around the world.”

She also said she is worried about ‘how quickly we are going down a path there might be no return from’.

She said: “Everyone should start small and do little things throughout the day.”

When asked about her opinion on Extinction Rebellion she said: “I do agree with the stuff they do, but I think you need to have a balance.

“I know it’s to gain attention but maybe destroying property and actually disrupting people’s lives, that I think is not very good.”

She said: “I truly support what they’re doing, and it does get people talking.”

Mun Tasir, a 20-year-old student from East London said: “Research has shown we’re too late already, so all we can do is try to slow it down more.

“There needs to be more actions. I don’t see any actions being taken.  “I see them listening to Greta but I don’t see anything happening.” 

Feature image credit: Anders Hellberg.

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