Bold leadership, radical action: What Bristol residents want on climate change...

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Abstract

This research set out to establish what ordinary
people in Bristol think about climate change, how they
talk about it, and how it affects their lives. We asked
residents what they know about current local policies,
and what they would or would not want to see if
changes have to happen in the city.
As a result, this report foregrounds the voices of
Bristol residents. We hope it will be of use and interest
to all those who live and work in the city, including
those who took part and who asked to see the
final report; to anyone involved in climate change
communication in Bristol, whether in Bristol City
Council, the Bristol Green Capital Partnership or other
business and civil society organisations; and to Bristol
climate change strategy leaders and policy makers,
including the One City Environmental Sustainability
Board and Bristol City Council and WECA mayors,
councillors and officers.
In February and March 2020, a team of eight
researchers spoke to 333 residents across Bristol,
covering both the centre and the outskirts and
selecting as broad a range of people to talk to as
possible. We were determined to hear the views of
people who don’t often get heard by policy makers.
Following lockdown, we created an online survey
asking the same questions and promoted this
through Bristol 24-7 and Bristol Post in June 2020.
A further 1343 residents took part online, answering
an additional question about whether Covid-19 had
shifted their views on climate change in any way.
Thanks to the huge volume of responses to our online
survey, we collected a unique data set given its time
of collection and breadth of participation. There is
far more information there to unearth and share,
and this report is the first of several that we hope to
write. However, early analysis of the interviews and
responses led to the following insights:
• Bristol residents are concerned about climate
change and this fear both motivates willingness
to change and holds people back from action.
• Transport is the biggest area of concern, talked
about both before and during the Covid-19
lockdown.
• Residents are willing to see radical change in
the city and are frustrated with the lack of visible
steps that have been taken so far.
• Equality and fairness is important to Bristolians,
including an expectation that all sectors should pull
their weight and that the costs of adaptation
should not be carried by, or lead to the exclusion
of, those least able to pay.
• Residents expect a high level of integrity from
Bristol City Council and goodwill towards
the council is undermined when policies
are perceived as contradictory or not
followed through.
In the report, we reflect on what Bristol residents
had to say through the prism of the One City Climate
Strategy, in order to see how well the aspirations and
implications of that plan are understood and endorsed
by Bristolians. Our observations about that are
summarised in a series of brief recommendations at
the end of the report, reflecting on aspects of climate
change communication that could catalyse action. We
hope that the report makes a useful contribution to the
ongoing conversation about Bristol’s response to the
climate emergency.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPraxis (e)Press
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre

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