Landscape desecrated by climate change.

How will the climate and nature crises impact people from ethnic minority communities?

Part of the Everyone’s Environment programme

People from ethnic minority communities in Britain are, on average, more affected by the climate and nature crises than White British people due to profound societal inequity.

This briefing, published jointly with the Race Equality Foundation, shows how the impact upon physical and mental health is the most evidenced but that there is also evidence of impact on income, skills, and jobs:

  • People from ethnic minority communities in low-income households and those already experiencing health inequalities are the most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate and nature crises – particularly through poorly adapted housing, air pollution, and lack of access to green spaces.
  • The impact of policies on people from ethnic minority communities is mixed. Some policies, like those targeting fuel poverty, insulation, and air pollution have brought benefits. But this is likely because people from ethnic minority communities are most likely to experience fuel poverty and live in polluted areas in the first place. The evidence suggests people from ethnic minority communities have been less likely to benefit from policies on electric vehicles and solar panels but are more likely to want green jobs and to start cycling.

Those affected will likely include people supported by charities and other civil society organisations. We’re therefore encouraging charities and their funders to better understand the impacts of the changing environment on the communities they serve and what they need to change to support people through the green transition.

There are significant gaps in evaluations of the impact of national government policies on people from ethnic minority communities – particularly on policies to make places greener and help people access nature. The environmental crises are human crises, yet this review suggests the UK government needs to do more to assess the impact of their policies on people from ethnic minority communities, particularly people on lower incomes. With a stronger focus on these impacts, the government has a much better chance of achieving their environmental goals and making sure everyone enjoys the benefits of a healthier environment.


The Everyone’s Environment programme

This briefing is part of the Everyone’s Environment programme, a collaboration of over 40 social and environmental charities and funders to empower people from different social groups to have their needs reflected in environmental decision making and policy. It is the second in a series that will be published over the coming months, which will summarise how the climate and nature crises will impact different social groups, including young people, older people, disabled people and people from ethnic minority communities, and what changes would be most impactful.

We are grateful to the William Grant Foundation and City Bridge Trust for supporting the ‘ethnic minorities strand’ of the Everyone’s Environment programme.

William Grant Foundation logo
City Bridge Trust logo

The William Grant Foundation is a non-profit association established to support charitable causes in Scotland. Its work is funded by William Grant and Sons Ltd.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of The City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates (1035628).

We are grateful to Prof. Miles Richardson at the University of Derby and (LPI 2022. Living Planet Index database. 2022 for the cover image used for this series of publications.

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