Minority groups in Sheffield may still be unaware of ‘climate crisis’

The world is said to be in a ‘climate crisis’ and although it is an issue affecting everyone, many from minority groups are still unaware of what is going on.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 24th February 2020, 9:22 am

Scientists believe that human activity has, and still is, contributing to extreme weather conditions such as recent storms in the UK and wildfires in Australia.

Although people have become more aware of the impact of climate change, there is ‘so much more that needs to be done’, according to experts in the field.

Maxwell Ayamba, an academic and environmental journalist, said: “These extreme weather conditions are a sign of worse things to come. It is just the tip of the iceberg.”

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Maxwell Ayamba who runs Sheffield Environmental Movement to educate children on environmental issues

He explained that minority groups especially are not aware of the extent of the crisis because the narratives of environmental issues are from a white perspective.

Maxwell, who’s charity - Sheffield Environmental Movement - serves to help black and ethnic minority communities in the city better access the natural environment, added: “If people are not involved systematically, there is no way of really getting them involved and the actions that have to be taken.

“Minority groups often live hand to mouth. They are constantly struggling to make ends meet.

“It is a challenge for organisations and groups in bringing new audiences. For example, we see many climate change protests but we don’t see BME people there. How do they get involved?”

Climate change protesters young and old took to the streets of Sheffield recently, demanding urgent action to save our planet

He is connecting with more individuals and organisations across the UK and Europe, to help them better connect minority communities with nature.

A ‘very important piece of work’ for Maxwell has been his involvement in Julian Glover’s review - part of a 25-year government plan developed to promote diversity in outside spaces.

He said: “I was the only black person there.”

Maxwell believes this shows how environmental racism is ‘rife’ but it should not be the case as nature is non racial and has no boundaries.

A recent climate change protest in Sheffield

He added: “We are seeing developments that are completely compromising future generations to come.

“The crisis is not due to minority groups but people are forgetting that it is those in power that is stopping them.”