The people’s movement

Climate change has very quickly become one of the hottest (no pun intended) topics of the year, with news of environmental protests shunting even Brexit out of the headlines, and David Attenborough documentaries such as Our Planet broadcasting the urgency of the situation to a global audience. Cities are declaring bold carbon-neutral targets. The UK Parliament has declared a climate emergency. It’s not a fringe issue any more – climate change has gone mainstream.

One thing that is becoming increasingly clear alongside the swell in conversation around the topic is that this is a movement of the people. Governments have set targets to reduce carbon emissions, but protesters from organisations like Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion say it’s not enough, that further action is needed, and that protests will continue until reasonable efforts to meet their demands are made. The people are controlling the narrative here, and governments will not easily be able to implement policies without involving them.

A different approach

So it seems as though a new democratic approach may be needed to tackle the climate crisis. But what exactly will that look like? Will Extinction Rebellion’s demand for a Citizen’s Assembly be realised? We can’t be certain. What we do know is that it’s an issue that affects every person in the world – so it’s important to keep an open discourse. And public bodies are already taking steps to meaningfully involve the public in the conversation. From national government agencies to small local councils, organisations are talking to the public about climate change and how to tackle it.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs have been running a series of high-profile consultations on packaging waste and recycling, while government policies like the Clean Air Strategy 2019 are reflected in localised consultations, such as those by Birmingham City Council and the London borough of Camden. The Isle of Man is thinking long term in with a consultation on its Climate Change Mitigation Strategy for the next 10 years.

This is just a selection of the consultations that our clients have run on Citizen Space. We also offer two more deliberative tools for public participation: Simulator, which enables respondents to prioritise the outcomes of a complex decision, and Dialogue, a tool for open crowdsourced discussion.

Book a demo to see how your organisation can become part of the climate change conversation.