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.
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.