UK VOTERS have delivered a stark warning to our political leaders not to neglect environment and climate change policy with the next General Election little more than a year away, according to new research commissioned by WWF-UK ahead of Earth Hour 2014 on 29 March at 8.30pm.
Significantly, almost half (47 per cent) of the 2,000 respondents surveyed in WWF-UK’s poll also stated that they would be willing to switch their political allegiance to a different party based on the strength of environmental policies. With the next General Election due in 2015, it’s clear that the recent dramatic weather events have brought climate change and the environment onto the political centre stage.
Protection against flooding and other extreme weather events should also be prioritised by Westminster, with 88 per cent of respondents to WWF-UK’s poll feeling that the Government should be doing more in this regard. 73 per cent of those surveyed also feel that the leaders of our main political parties are not currently giving enough emphasis to the environment, suggesting a lack of confidence in existing green policies.
The perceived link between extreme weather conditions and wider global climate change is also highlighted by WWF-UK’s latest research, with 72 per cent of respondents agreeing that Britain’s recent storms are evidence of a wider trend and 64 per cent feeling more concerned about the impacts of climate change following the storms that lashed Britain in the early part of 2014. This increased awareness is in turn likely to make voters scrutinise environmental policies in more depth, with over half of respondents (53 per cent) claiming they will pay more attention to these sections of party manifestoes following recent extreme weather events.
“WWF launched Earth Hour in 2007 to demonstrate widespread popular support for environmental action,” said Colin Butfield, Director of Campaigns and Public Engagement at WWF-UK. “Since then we've been stunned by how quickly it's grown and how many people take action well beyond the hour itself. The findings of this survey echo what we’ve found with Earth Hour - namely that millions of people in the UK want to protect our planet, are willing to take action in their own lives and expect action, not just words, from their political leaders,” he added.
First launched in Australia in 2007, WWF’s Earth Hour has grown to become the world’s biggest ‘lights out’ celebration, encouraging consumers across the world to take small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Last year’s record-breaking event saw over 7,000 towns and cities across 154 countries take part. In the UK alone, over 10 million people joined the celebration with activities including hosting candlelit dinners, stargazing and enjoying torch lit walks under atmospheric night skies.
Once again at 8.30pm on 29 March iconic landmarks across the world will symbolically turn off their lights for Earth Hour, in a gesture of global solidarity against the threats facing our planet’s fragile environment.
To find out more about WWF’s Earth Hour and to sign up please CLICK HERE
Summary of key survey findings:
- 9/10 people feel that we all have a role to play in helping to protect the environment
- 88% of respondents believe the government should be doing more to protect the UK against flooding and other extreme weather events
- 83% believe that we’re currently using more natural resources than our planet can replenish
- 73% feel the leaders of our main political parties do not currently give enough focus to the environment
- 72% want politicians to put more emphasis on green energy and CO2 reduction to help reduce the impacts of climate change
- 7/10 people believe that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the planet
- 64% say recent extreme weather events in the UK have made them more concerned about the impacts of climate change
- 53% say the recent extreme weather has made them more likely to read about the environmental policies of the main political parties
- Nearly half of UK voters (47 per cent) are potentially willing to switch political allegiance based on environmental policy
- Over half of us would prefer to spend quality time with our family, partner or friends rather than a celebrity. Just 2% picked Beyoncé or Leonard Di Caprio. David Attenborough was the most picked celebrity at 6%