Event Report: The Challenges of Climate Change for BME Communities

MCFly attends a workshop hoping to get the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities of Manchester talking about climate change.

On the 20th of June, both MCFly editors went along to the second workshop arranged by the National C ouncil for Voluntary Organisations. It was arranged for BME communities from across Greater Manchester about climate change. The day built on the previous workshop’s work exploring the implications of climate change for the BME organisation’s clients and planning their own projects. We missed the pre-lunch session because of this, but managed to make it along to hear the participants discussing their main concerns about climate change.

Quite interestingly (although not surprisingly), many of the attendees were concerned that climate change would play a hugely disruptive role in their communities. During a session designed to narrow down their concerns to three issues, conflict caused by climate change was raised repeatedly. Attendees, who work with youths and elderly people from everywhere from Pakistan to Nigeria, feared that a changing climate would cause political unrest, conflict, a rise in xenophobia, climate refugees, isolation and insecurity. The two other main concerns were a lack of information and rising costs as resources dwindle.

One attendee raised the concern that the power imbalance experienced by the BME community means that they will struggle to take the action they need to tackle climate change. It was a really interesting point and it’s a shame that more time was dedicated to exploring the issues the workshop raised. As the participants noted, we may all be on the same boat when it comes to climate change but we are all on different decks and those from disadvantaged communities will be worst affected and least prepared or able to deal with it.

Disclaimer: MCFly was invited along to this workshop by the organisers to speak about the various groups and organisations dealing with environmental issues in the city.  And accepted an offered fee to do so (£150 – it will go into the same bank account as the Lush money, and be used to pay for printing, offering training sessions etc. The editors are not paid, and will continue not to be paid unless and until we announce otherwise.)

Arwa Aburawa
Freelance Journalist

See also: Irfan Syed’s eloquent blog post “What is it that is following me? A southern perspective on climate change“, inspired by the first workshop

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in Adaptation, Democratic deficit, Event reports and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Event Report: The Challenges of Climate Change for BME Communities

  1. Kate Damiral says:

    Thanks for your reflections on the session, Arwa. Yes, it was a shame we were a bit too pushed for time to explore some of the issues raised a bit more deeply. But we had a lot to cover, including helping our project participants to begin planning how they’ll work with some of their service users/clients/members on climate change. We’ll pick up the points raised last week at our third and final session in November, when each organisation will be developing an action plan in response to the concerns they’ve identified. There’s more about the 20 June workshop on the NCVO climate change project blog: http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/networking-discussions/blogs/83/12/06/27/climate-change-bme-communities-flooding-heatwaves-lost-conn

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