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Diasporic communities, the climate crisis and environmental citizenship

Engaging with diasporic communities of Bangladeshi, Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistani heritage

The project Diasporic communities, the climate crisis and environmental citizenship is currently being undertaken by Prof Steve TaylorDr Sarah Peck, Deborah Booth, and Prof Matt Baillie Smith.

Migration and the climate crisis are two key concerns of our contemporary moment. The climate emergency is bound up with histories of unequal resource use, with negative impacts disproportionately felt in marginalised communities, in the global North and South. Despite this imbalance, diaspora groups are often excluded from mainstream environmental discourses and action.

The project team has recently completed a small pilot project with diasporic communities of Bangladeshi, Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistani heritage, mainly based in the United Kingdom, looking at how diasporic experiences, perspectives and practices intersect with responding to the climate crisis. The team has also considered how the links between the climate crisis and migration are being explored in South Asia and the institutional and policy responses to these. The pilot project focused on exploring: 

  • The actions, practices, experiences and perspectives of diasporic South Asian organisations in the UK as they respond to the climate crisis.  
  • The ways in which (transnational) lived experiences, identity, culture and heritage may shape these responses. 
  • How diasporic communities are positioned and engaged by institutional actors and policy-makers in relation to the climate crisis. 

The pilot project culminated in a cross-sectoral workshop with diaspora groups, NGOs, and universities in the UK and the South Asian region held in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in September 2023. One of the outcomes from the workshop was the mutual desire to develop spaces through which to share, explore and exchange perspectives. This has resulted in the development of the UK-South Asia Climate Action Group (UK-South Asia C.A.G), which will aim to meet regularly. For more information about the project or the UK-South Asia C.A.G, please contact Prof Steve Taylor or Dr Sarah Peck.

You can read a preliminary report through the link below:

You can also listen to a podcast with Vibhati Bhatia, from South Asians for Sustainability and Energise and Nish Tailor, now a Design Consultant showcasing how social value can be embedded into local community projects. The podcast discussion explores youth engagement, the potential for community action in the workplace, the complexities of community, particularly in relation to voice and representation, and intergenerational environmental solidarity:


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