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Diversity among Black and Brown communities in Bristol is huge and it is vital to celebrate the different cultures that we have in Bristol and use it as a tool for the positive change.

I believe that intersection between environment and culture is undeniable from agriculture to art to the industries and more. Environmental engagement shouldn’t be separated from culture, as the way members of a society relate to the environment seems to be culturally patterned – which means that environmental engagement may differ from one culture to another.

My research project aimed to investigate the idea that some cultures already positively affect environmental sustainability through cultural behaviours and practices. I invited participants from Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia, India, Eretria and Sri Lanka to share their heritage, knowledge and experience, and contribute to Bristol’s environmental agenda. Activities included:

  • Two creative, interactive and inclusive workshops at Windmill City Hill farm to focus on food and cooking – we picked organic vegetables from the farm and cooked it together while we were talking about sustainable practices from our different cultures
  • A family workshop involving crafting with natural materials – we collected sticks, stones and pinecones from streets and parks and some reusable materials.
  • Interviews with workshop participants

My learnings are that:

  • many people from different cultures are already practicing sustainable practices for a long time but without acknowledging the academic term “sustainability”
  • there is a lack of information about allotments among these communities – where they could grow their own organic vegetables as they used to do in their home country
  • people dream of cooking traditional food without importing ingredients from abroad.
  • communities are applying some sustainable practices in the UK such as refill practices and using reusable bags for their shopping.
  • Using culture can be used as a tool to engage these communities in environmental conversation, through something that relates to their cultures and means a lot to them and makes it easy and accessible for them to be able contribute to environmental movement in a way that suits them without using sophisticated language or environmental jargons.
  • People tend to engage more in environmental conversation in a simple fun way

There is a huge potential in the black and brown communities to become more active in environmental sector if they get the opportunity. So, we have to create opportunities for this to happen. It could be through environmental project targeting these communities or through partnership with other business or organisations.

Related news and blog posts

The Black & Green Ambassadors programme marked the end of Year One at Bristol’s Festival of the Future City – with outgoing Ambassadors Asia, Roy and Olivia sharing their reflections from an unforgettable year, handing over the baton to the next four Ambassadors and launching the end of year one report and film.