Consumers need a dose of honesty about the fight against climate change

Jobs will go, prices will rise and the choice of goods will recede. Why sugar-coat it?

An Extinction Rebellion protest. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty

An Extinction Rebellion protest. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty

Supermarket chains are among the most anthropological of companies. It is their business to find out what makes customers tick. They are experts at drilling down into the bedrock of people’s everyday lives to establish their needs and wants. They also tend to have a good handle on our hopes and fears.

Supermarkets know how much of people’s average weekly shop is splurged on crisps and chocolate. They know how much red wine we secretly drink to crawl through the week. They know the deodorants, tampons and painkillers that people favour, at least collectively. They know what we like for breakfast. They are engaged in the most intimate of commercial relationships with us.

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