The vast majority of people living in or passing through the St Stephen’s area of Canterbury describe themselves as concerned about climate change. In a poll of 60 people conducted in the run-up to the Council election, 54 (87 per cent) said they were worried and only 8 (13 per cent) said they were not.
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When people were asked to rate their concern out of 10, the most common response was eight out 10, a reply given by 16 people. This was a shade above the average (mean) reply — a rating of 7.8 out of 10. Only one person gave a rating of under five: this was a two score. At the other end of the spectrum, 14 people said their worry level was the maximum 10 out of 10.
Asked about solutions, many people mentioned aspects of recycling. One student (giving an 8 score) said: “The recycling bin is taken up every other week. For students that discourages you even though you want to recycle. I’m in a house of five people. That means that if there is not enough space you are encouraged to put your recycling waste into the ordinary, landfill bin.” Asked if a different system might work better in which residents could drop off their waste to a collection point nearby, she said: “Definitely.”
Another 8/10 respondent expressed scepticism about whether the Council did what it said it would with recycled waste. “They could be burying it,” he said.
Three female students from abroad said that climate change meant they had brought the wrong kind of clothes with them to the UK. One (8/10) said: “It’s a problem for tourists or students. We’ve got a stereo-type of what the climate is meant to be like here — always cloudy.” Her friend (10/10) said: “It’s so difficult to choose the clothes you should wear. And, as a result, you get sick [getting too cold or hot].”
Surprisingly, two of the people giving a 5 score were school girls of about the same age as the Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg. They had not hear of her, however, and their lack of concern appeared to reflect a lack of knowledge, rather than not caring.
- “Finding a substitute for plastic is so difficult.” (7/10)
- “Nearly all plastics can be recycled but the issue is whether the Council is actually doing it.” (8/10)
- “I’m not worried because I have lots of other things to worry about.” (6/10)
- Climate change is nothing new. It’s been happening for thousands of years.” (5/10)
- “For myself I’m not that worried; it’s 6 or 7 out of 10. For my grand-children, I am really worried: its 10. So my answer is a 10.” (10/10)
- “There isn’t a need for the multi-storey car park. The High Speed service to London has got so lunatically expensive that it would cost less to go the whole way by car [rather than parking at the station and then taking the train].” (10/10)
- “We should be getting people away from gas and coal, and into putting up solar panels. I’ve been looking into solar panels but there is not much that is affordable out there now.” She was enthusiastic about the idea of the Council starting a bulk-buying scheme for residents on solar panels as a way of bringing down prices. (9/10)
- “I don’t think there is a lot we can do to change the situation. But electric cars would stop a lot of the pollution. And we should measure air pollution at the schools and nearby.” (8/10)
- “I’m not worried. I don’t really know much about it.” (5/10)
- “I have breathing problems already. Don’t go ahead with the 4,000 houses at Mountfield. That will eventually bring another 8,000 cars on the road. The people there will be commuters from London.” (10/10, based in Barton, but shopping in St Stephen’s)
- “We need better links in public transport. Otherwise emissions are only going to get worse with more traffic on the roads.” (10/10)