As someone who has been working to raise public awareness of our climate crisis and environmental and social issues for a number of years, I know how much of a difference it can make when public opinion and public interest sway in the right direction. One positive think that has transpired over the last year or two is that the general public is far, far more engaged in sustainability and environmental issues. Though actual real and lasting action lags behind – awareness is one initial piece of the puzzle.
The general public as a body is often derided and dismissed – by politicians, by businesses and by organisations. But when the tide of public opinion shifts, authorities and those in positions of power are forced to take note. Collectively, as consumers and voters, we have the power to put pressure on decision makers, and move things in the right direction.
Change comes frustratingly slowly at times. But I do see a lot of hope at the moment in the way in which people are waking up to the massive global issues we face. Public opinion and an ever growing interest in eco matters and sustainability is already turning the tide, and forcing decision makers, businesses and those in power to at least pay lip service to these issues.
Anyone with a deeper understanding of the science and realities knows that we still have a long way to go. Good news in terms of emissions goals and green recovery programmes is tempered with an understanding that we need to go much further still. But the public pressure that comes from a greater awareness of sustainability and green issues is an important driving force that should not be overlooked.
The more individuals express their desire for urgent action, the more we show by example and use our voices, the swifter and more decisive action will be. We need to remember that it is we the people, the general public, who have the power. We can do more than we sometimes think to actually make things happen.