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Funding boosts Bristol’s inclusive approach to climate change uncertainty

Cabot Institute

Press release issued: 13 February 2017

Bristol should adopt a more inclusive approach to tackling the uncertainty of climate change following the publication of a key report by the University of Bristol Cabot Institute and announcement of continued funding for the city's Green & Black Ambassadors programme.

The UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) will provide additional funding for The Green & Black Ambassadors programme, a joint initiative of the Cabot Institute, Ujima radio and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. The programme aims to build a more inclusive dialogue around climate change challenges by addressing the exclusion of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Bristol’s green movement.

This key issue is identified in the Cabot Institute's Action in the Face of Environmental Uncertainty report and was highlighted in the independent review of Bristol's year as the European Green Capital, released this month.

The Cabot Institute’s report emphasises the need to put equal, empowered and socially mobile people at the forefront of Bristol's environmental sustainability efforts.

Zakiya McKenzie, a post-graduate student in Environment, Energy and Resilience at the University of Bristol, is one of the first Green & Black Ambassadors. She has been working with fellow inaugural Ambassador, Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley, a UWE graduate and broadcaster, since October 2016 to incorporate the perspectives of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Bristol’s green movement.

"Inclusion must mean that our [BME communities] insight and expertise is seen as valid, and even necessary, to the discussion around climate change and sustainability. While our experiences might be different, we are all living in the same city and must therefore co-create solutions to protect it for us all," said Ms McKenzie. 

The report's author and Director of the Cabot Institute, Professor Rich Pancost, states: "The main goal of the Ambassadors programme has been to challenge sustainability leaders, including scientists, to listen to more diverse perspectives - the challenges they face and the solutions they propose. This funding is about more than simply sharing our research with a variety of audiences, it’s about sharing, listening and learning; and being inspired to develop new research directions."

One of the founders of the Green & Black Ambassadors programme, Ujima Radio's Julz Davis, adds: "Tapping into the strength of our diversity requires not just goodwill but the creation of structures that promote inclusion, including training and genuine financial support of community partners. A primary goal of the Ambassadors programme is to co-create those structures."

Ian Townsend, Chief Executive of Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, adds: "Bristol Green Capital Partnership has a long history of working with people and groups across the city to explore and promote a sustainable, low carbon city with a high quality of life for all. We were delighted to co-fund this project and warmly welcome this additional funding from the NERC to further develop this exciting project."

Action in the Face of Environmental Uncertainty proposes a framework of principles to guide Bristol’s leaders and decision-makers, and those of similar UK and European cities, towards managing a future characterised by increasing environmental uncertainty.  The report brings together climate change research; academic, industry and policy expertise; and public perceptions and experience, collected during Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital in 2015. 

Report contributor and Cabot Institute Manager, Hayley Shaw, said: "Crucially, our consultations repeatedly revealed that we should emphasise actions on climate change that also create co-benefits such as improved health or community cohesion.  Not only does that increase the value of such efforts, it also engages a wider part of the population."

Further information

The Cabot Institute

The Cabot Institute carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment.  We drive new research in the interconnected areas of climate change, natural hazards, water and food security, low carbon energy, and future cities. Our research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of social, environmental and engineered systems – past, present and future. We seek to engage wider society by listening to, exploring with, and challenging our stakeholders to develop a shared response to 21st Century challenges.  The Action in the face of environmental uncertainty report can be viewed here. To find out more about our work visit the Cabot Institute website or contact Professor Rich Pancost.


NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We co-ordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £330m of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).  

The Green & Black Ambassadors

The Green & Black Ambassadors Programme was launched in Oct 2016, following a year and a half of consultation, led by Ujima Radio. It is funded by the Cabot Institute and The Bristol Green Capital Partnership.  From January to March of 2017 it will be funded by the NERC.  They are Zakiya McKenzie and Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley, and they invite you to tune in to their monthly show on Ujima Radio 98FM. Links to past episodes and contact details for the Ambassadors can be found on the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Cabot Institute websites. The Green and Black Team also includes: Roger Griffith and Julian Davis (Ujima Radio), Vicki Woolley and Ian Townsend (Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC), Kat Wall (University of Bristol Centre for Public Engagement) and Rich Pancost, Hayley Shaw and Helen Manchester (University of Bristol Cabot Institute). Initial funding for the Green and Black Conversation that led to the Ambassadors Programme was provided by the European Research Council Grant, T-GRES.

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