It’s very easy to feel powerless in the face of the scale of the climate crisis. When it comes to the environment, young consumers are facing up to a very real fear: eco-anxiety, that feeling of helplessness in the face of a global crisis.
Over 70% of the UK’s 18-24 year old population is not only worried but anxious about climate change, according to a national YouGov poll conducted in January 2020. Commissioned by Friends of the Earth, the poll showed that many people in the UK feel that they, and their local council, are not doing enough to help the environment.
Friends of the Earth’s latest slot from Don’t Panic taps into this fear in a humorously extreme spot, ‘We’ve All Been There.’ The pace of the film captures the intensity of the emotion that feeling of helplessness elicits. The spot follows a woman chasing down a retreating rubbish truck. The film escalates to a crescendo before crashing to a halt at a dump, where it is revealed that the woman had put her plastic bottle in the wrong bin and wanted to correct her mistake.
Starring Jasmine Jobson of Top Boy fame, the ad is designed to remind people that they’re not alone in feeling this panic and that there are tangible ways to address the climate crisis. It captures the ominous rush to tackle the crisis while also reminding people of the difference each individual can actually make. There is power to be found amongst the universal feeling of powerlessness.
The film is part of Friends of the Earth’s wider campaign, ‘#TakeBackTomorrow’ which is encouraging people to recognise the power of collective action. If we each take individual responsibility whilst pulling together, real change can be effected.
This campaign perfectly encapsulates the feeling of anxiety which can creep up on consumers attempting to be more mindful; whether forgetting their reusable cup or using a plastic bag in the supermarket for the third time that week. The film conveys the fear that consumers can feel. Yet the power of this ad is that it’s not about shaming people for the things they don’t do but rather celebrating people’s commitment to the environmental initiatives they do take part in, and reminding us that there is always more we can do.