Climate change affects everyone. We all need to make changes in how we live, work, consume, play and care for each other. Many of the changes we need to make will improve people’s lives and wellbeing, and make our environments cleaner and healthier to live in.
There is a perception that the ‘environmental movement’ is white, middle class, highly educated. We believe that the energy transition is for everyone’s benefit. And all kinds of people throughout the West of England do care about the environment and lead green lives, but there are barriers for some people to engaging with these issues.
At the same time, we recognise that people who are more privileged in our society have a greater responsibility to act on climate change.
People with more financial wealth tend to consume more and have a greater climate impact. People with more time on their hands may be more able to spend time on environmental issues. People with a bigger voice in society have a responsiblity to use that voice to advocate for climate justice and meaningful action on climate emergency. People from white, middle-class, educated, financially secure backgrounds face less risk when taking civil disobedience or making substantial investments, and so it is right that people with those privileges should step up to take action.
“In fact, many people had lived very ‘green’ lives for a long time and saw it as second nature. The issue was not that people were not engaged, rather that the mainstream environmental sustainability community had not sufficiently understood who the city’s diverse communities are and what they do. “Green and Black Ambassadors Pilot Report 2018
Next steps proposed in the Green and Black report in 2015 included the following points for the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, which we aim to learn from and adapt to Zero West, recognising that our West of England-wide reach means that BAME inclusion is just one dimension of inclusion that we need to pay attention to.
- Embed this work in the governance and leadership structures of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership
- Actively use media partners to be inclusive in promoting future Bristol Green Capital Partnership agenda.
- Continue this Green and Black forum and group as a core reference group alongside other specialist networks in the city
- Co- create a series of projects that build upon Green and Black, Eat your Greens, 91 ways and others to create an ongoing portfolio of activity.
- Use of existing forums i.e. BAME Voice, BUDS (Bristol Urban Dining Society), and Black Manifesto.
- Use of associations such as Bristol Business School. Consider taking to a national/ international agenda.