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Survey suggests Black British people more informed about climate change

16 October 2020


Activists from Extinction Rebellion march through central London on the tenth and final day of mass protests, on 10 September

Activists from Extinction Rebellion march through central London on the tenth and final day of mass protests, on 10 September

THE first survey focused on asking Black British Christians their views on climate change suggests that this group is more informed on the issue and more likely to take action to change their own behaviour as a result than the public at large.

The poll was carried out for Christian Aid, which, earlier this year, probed the general public’s attitudes to climate change (News, 10 July). The initial survey, carried out by Savanta ComRes, suggested that up to one third of people in Britain believed that white people were hardest hit by the climate crisis, despite the mounting evidence that it is the poorest communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and in small island states, who are disproportionately affected by the floods, droughts, and extreme weather caused by climate change.

Between 7 and 19 August, pollsters then asked 500 Black British Christians about their attitudes to climate change.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) felt that they knew at least a fair amount about climate change, compared with just under half (49 per cent) of the wider British public.

The survey revealed that those questioned were twice as likely as others to try to reduce their carbon footprint, or take part in climate activism, including buying solar panels or an electric car, or using more eco-friendly forms of travel. Those who were born outside the UK in countries more vulnerable to climate change were also more likely than those born in the UK to say that they were well informed on climate change.

More than half the Black Christians said that the climate movement was not racially diverse enough.

The Archdeacon of Croydon, the Ven. Dr Rosemarie Mallett, said: “These results are astounding. Black Christians are much more aware that the impacts of climate change disproportionately affect Black and brown people around the world compared to the British public.

“The findings show that people of global-majority heritage know and understand the challenge the world is facing. It also shows that such people don’t know how to get involved, do not see enough people like themselves involved, or would get involved if their church was more engaged. Hopefully, this research will help inform how more people of global-majority heritage can take actions for climate justice.”

Christian Aid’s Head of Public Engagement, Chine McDonald, said: “Despite Black and brown people being disproportionately affected by climate change around the world, the climate movement is often represented and led by White people.

“These findings challenge the perception that concerns around climate change are largely the preserve of White people. It is clear that Black Christians are a very engaged and informed community when it comes to understanding these issues and have a lot to offer the climate campaign movement.”

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