The Green and Black Initiative

Green and Black

The Green and Black initiative was first launched by local Bristol Radio station - Ujima Radio - prior to the launch of Bristol's year as the Green Capital of Europe. Through debate, public engagement and media coverage, Ujima challenged us all to think about the importance of inclusion in the environmental movement. 

In 2014, the Cabot Institute, Policy Bristol and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership began to work with Ujima to explore how to tackle this challenge together. 

Following a successful application to the Cabot Institute Innovation award, we organised two community consultations to understand the progress in the city to date, as well as the challenges ahead. 

The consultation was enlightening, leading to the development of a 'Green and Black Report' and a series of key take-home messages: 

  • the Green Agenda was perceived as elitist; and
  • more diverse boards and groups are required to make better informed decisions; but
  • the way that BAME people are being involved and asked to engage is a barrier. It’s not on their terms, and they are asked to solve problems without resources.

Our collective conclusion is that it is essential to invest in the leadership skills of those interested in bringing environmental and social justice in Bristol. In response, the Cabot Institute and the Bristol Green Capital partnership pooled resource to sponsor a six month pilot - 'the Green and Black Ambassadors Intitiative' - which will: 

  • recruit two 'future leaders' to the ambassadors programme
  • contribute directly to a more diverse environmental community
  • make progress on issues of concern for newly-involved communities; and
  • critically, serve as a research project in its own right to understand how best to support communities achieve activism and inclusion.

Since this date, we have secured an extension for the work through a NERC public engagement grant, and intend to make a larger application to a philanthropic scheme to expand the initiative. 

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