Forget zombies, vampires and werewolves – the real spooky tale this Halloween is one about inaction and lacklustre efforts to tackle the climate crisis. Now that’s scary!
Climate change is happening at an alarming pace, as every year we’re confronted with images of melting ice caps, ravaging forest fires, and increasing temperatures. While it’s heartening to see grassroots movements and local communities doing their best to tackle this issue, there’s a perception that those with the power and influence to instigate significant change are not doing enough.
According to a survey of over 26,000 people from different social and demographic groups across the EU, countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Sweden consider climate change as the gravest challenge humanity faces. However, the big question remains: if so many believe in the urgency of the situation, why isn’t there a more sustained push at government level to address it?
Individual efforts, while commendable, can only achieve so much. In Luxembourg, for instance, a staggering 82% of the population is taking personal steps to tackle climate change, with Finland and Sweden not far behind at 81%. However, these individual behaviours cannot offset the systemic inadequacies and large-scale industrial challenges that continue to exacerbate the problem.
Take the case of plastics. Our oceans brim with these non-biodegradable materials, with marine life often bearing the brunt of our disposable lifestyles. Even though recycling initiatives are in place worldwide, the global production of plastics has actually escalated, reaching a staggering 390.7 million metric tons in 2021.
Inger Andersen, director of the UN Environment Program, has rightly pointed out that we won’t be able to simply recycle our way out of this situation. A broader, more profound transformation in our consumption habits and production processes is now necessary more than ever.
And yet, there are glimmers of hope. As an alternative to plastics and other non-renewable materials, cardboard stands out. Its exceptional recyclability is a testament to what can be achieved when industries prioritise sustainability, and it’s already being embraced by the more eco-oriented younger generation.
But while individual and local actions are crucial, they must be complemented by robust policies and systemic shifts. For once, the people in power have an opportunity to drive change at a truly existential level. Ultimately, climate change shouldn’t be a scary tale we tell our children on Halloween.