Among the respondents who answered the question, 17.6% chose ‘Environmental Justice’ as the most important issue to them, making it the fourth most important issue to respondents globally.
When broken down by region, the GC offers us the ability to compare:
- In Africa, ‘Environmental Justice’ was the seventh most popular issue with 7.2%.
– Respondents cited ‘political’ barriers as the biggest hindrance to progress with 32%, followed by ‘education’ with 22%.
- In Asia, ‘Environmental Justice’ was the fourth most important issue with 12.3%.
– Respondents noted ‘cultural/social’ barriers as the biggest obstacle to progress in this area with 33%, followed by ‘political’ barriers with 27%.
- In the Americas, ‘Environmental Justice’ was the fifth most popular issue with 15.7%.
– Respondents noted ‘political’ barriers as the biggest obstacle to progress with 49%, followed by ‘cultural/social’ barriers with 18%.
- In Europe, ‘Environmental Justice’ is identified as the third most important issue with 30.5%.
– Respondents noted ‘political’ barriers as the biggest hindrance to progress in this area with 41%, followed by ‘economic’ barriers with 29%.
- In Oceania, ‘Environmental Justice’ was the second most important issue for respondents with 25%.
– Respondents noted ‘political’ barriers as the biggest hindrance to progress in this area with 75%, followed by ‘economic’ barriers with 11%.
Despite the Climate Crisis being the biggest challenge facing the world today, results from the GC do not correlate with this urgency, with many respondents not considering it as prevalent an issue as others. Comparisons across regions also paint an interesting picture: ‘Environmental Justice’ is the second most popular issue in Oceania and the third most popular in Europe, whereas in Africa, it emerges as one of the least important. This is interesting as according to the Global Climate Change Index 2021, five out of the top ten countries affected by extreme weather are in Africa. This points to a disconnect between the impact of the Climate Crisis and the awareness of it as an issue, and it correlates with findings from a 2015 study that showed countries in the Global South had a much lower awareness rate of the impacts of the Climate Crisis than countries in the Global North.
Results from the GC can provide direction to the AC on Climate Justice in relation to gender justice. For example, a woman from Cambridge in the UK who identified ‘Environmental Justice’ as one of the top issues critical to her, wrote that “Climate change will have a greater impact on women than men and therefore progress on addressing climate change will be key to tackling gender inequality.” As this GC respondent points out, women are more vulnerable to the effects of the Climate Crisis than men. According to the UN, women represent a high percentage of poor communities that are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood and these are the types of communities climate change will impact first and in recurring ways.
Therefore, it is important that any actions in relation to the Climate Crisis take an explicitly gendered view and integrate the voices of women, particularly those from poorer communities. According to Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change, women in rural areas of developing countries are most impacted by the Climate Crisis as they are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood. The AC can use the findings to analyse where issues relating to the Climate Crisis and environmental justice are emerging and direct resources to address the barriers in understanding and action on climate.
Furthermore, given that for many women and gender-diverse people, the Climate Crisis is of lower priority than other issues, there is work to be done to raise awareness of the effects of the Climate Crisis in order for programmes to, as the ACs state, ‘enhance capacity of millions more women and girls to build resilience to climate disaster risks’ to succeed. If awareness is not present, these programmes may struggle to thrive and have the lasting impact that is needed.