Three quarters (78%) of people aged over 50* polled about climate change said they wanted the government to move faster on climate change and 65% said they wanted faster action from government even if it meant that products and services would be more expensive or more difficult to access, according to new research from Rest Less, a digital community and advocate for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond.
With COP26 in Glasgow taking place in just two months time, Rest Less, which has more than 600,000 members in the UK with an average age in the mid to late 50s, polled its members on their attitudes to climate change.
Respondents were asked to rate their level of concern about climate change between 1 and 5. Nearly two thirds (65%) of respondents rated their concern at the top level 5 of ‘very concerned’. Only one in 10 (11%) said they were ‘not concerned’.
When asked what measures they had personally taken over recent years to contribute to reducing climate change 70% said they had reduced their consumption of items such as clothes in order to reduce waste and 55% said they’d reduced the energy consumption in their homes. People have made changes to their eating habits too – one in two (55%) said they now eat less meat and dairy and one in five (20%) said they now only buy seasonal food.
Many reported a change in their travel habits too, in order to reduce climate change: 52% said they are using their car less, one in three (33%) said they are deliberately flying less or carbon offset when they fly and one in 10 (9%) said they have switched to a hybrid or an electric car.
Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “Our research shows that midlifers feel a huge sense of responsibility for the health of the planet and their role in reducing climate change. Nearly two thirds of those polled said they wanted the government to move faster on climate change initiatives, even if it meant paying more for certain products or services or having more difficulty obtaining them. Additionally, the vast majority of midlifers we surveyed are already making changes to their own habits – from recycling more to consuming less, changing their travel habits with some even giving up their car altogether – to try and help. It is clear that the need to tackle our climate emergency is an area that people of all generations agree on.
‘At Rest Less we see many people in their 50s and 60s thinking about what they want from their life and career and we see many tales of sacrifice and selflessness in pursuit of meaningful and rewarding good causes. From planting thousands of trees, to animal rescue and rewilding nature – the climate emergency is a great example where we continue to be inspired by everyday stories from our members who are making a real difference to the world around them.”
Case Study: Angela Christie, aged 57 from Somerset
Angela Christie is 57 and is an executive coach and project manager in the pharmaceutical sector. Three years ago, Angela and her partner decided they wanted a change from their suburban life in Hertfordshire where they both commuted into London for highly pressured corporate jobs. They gave up their jobs, decided on Somerset and found a house with a couple of acres of arable land. After a period of time deciding what to do with the land – they knew they wanted to do something productive – and finding themselves increasingly influenced by worries about climate change, particularly during Covid, they decided to grow their own food, with the goal of eventually filling their plates only with food they have produced from their own land. It is also a community effort: they let their neighbour’s sheep graze on the land, they’ve shared the cost of rearing pigs with the same neighbour , they are getting close to the goal and grow a range of fruit and vegetables and rear their own sheep, pigs (shared with their neighbour) and goats. Surplus food is shared with neighbours.
Angela says the process has led her to several significant realisations: ““Working in the garden and spending so much time outdoors, I can see the impact of climate change in my own garden and on my own produce. Climate change isn’t happening ‘somewhere else’. It’s happening here, on our doorstep, right now. This year, for example, was much wetter than previous years for example – apples are failing to grow and are rotting on trees. Locals who have been here much longer than we have have told us that summers are much hotter and winters are wetter. The river flooded three times last year for the first time in 25 years. We had three barn swallows take up residence in an outbuilding the first year we were here, last year there were two and this year they haven’t come at all.”
Angela added: “If you own livestock, you have to be prepared for deadstock. Rearing animals is a totally unsanitised life that I was not prepared for. It has also impacted the way we think about eating meat. Unlike with pre-packaged meat from the supermarket, we consciously consume the animals we have reared and will only eat them on special occasions. I also use all of the animal because I know what it takes to produce it. None of it is wasted.”
Notes to Editors
* Rest Less polled 521 of its members w/c 23 August 2021. Rest Less is a digital community for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Rest Less has a membership base of 600,000 members in the UK with an average age in their mid to late 50s.
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About Rest Less
Rest Less (restless.co.uk) launched in early 2019 and is a digital community and advocate for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Rest Less is on a mission to help its members get more out of life and offers content guidance and resources on topics spanning Jobs and Careers, Volunteering, Learning, Money, Health and Lifestyle and Dating.