Bcause Use Cases

Democratising Community Engagement in the Climate Emergency – Exploring Opportunities for Effective Action Together

How can all of London’s diverse communities be effectively involved in responding to the climate crisis?
Limiting the damaging impact of climate change on our environment is at the heart of the Mayor of London’s Climate Emergency Declaration and Zero Carbon London Plan. Lambeth Council has also made a similar declaration and action plan in which pledges have been made to work towards becoming a ‘net-zero’ city by 2030. These are challenging targets that affect everyone – yet all too often the voices of ethnic and other minoritised communities are under-represented when decisions about how these targets can be achieved are made. 

This is important because many citizens living in minority communities experience greater impacts on their health and wellbeing from the causes of the climate crisis than those living in more affluent neighbourhoods. Climate justice is an issue that affects us all. 

Lack of diversity has been recognised by the environmental movement for a long time.  It is 32 years since the establishment of the Black Environmental Network, yet little progress has been made to redress the balance. Work by the 1990 Trust (a progressive Black think tank) and the Community Development Foundation in 2006, followed in 2010 by a diversity manifesto “Hard to Reach?” by Capacity Global that found there had been little progress and set out a potential programme of activity. However, despite generally good intentions, a recent report by the Equalities Trust (2018) found that only 3.1% of environment professionals were from ethnic minority backgrounds. Similarly, local and national campaign groups remain majority white and middle-class.  The reasons for this are complex, negative cultural perceptions of environmentalists, conflicting priorities and a lack of action on the part of the environmental sector have all contributed to creating barriers to inclusion. Encouragingly the sector is now acknowledging the problem, yet is struggling to find effective solutions. 

We see a need to bring together interested parties/stakeholders to lead the way in addressing this important issue, to start a conversation, to define and discuss the key challenges to create a pathway to achieving more inclusive community participation in responding to the climate crisis.

“Hard to reach? Diversity and Environment” report can be found here