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How do migrants talk about climate change? - SAPNA Report

Last month, Sapna’s 2022 report titled Why North-South Intersectionality Matters for Climate Justice: Perspectives of young South-Asian Australian Youth Activists has been recognised with an award in the Innovation category by Environment Victoria’s Community Awards. 

The report highlights how the lived experiences and the social and cultural worlds of young Australian climate activists of South Asian heritage shape their outlooks on justice more broadly and climate justice more specifically. It underscores why diversity matters in climate activism in Australia’s highly multicultural society. And the need to understand how migrant multicultural communities understand, interpret and talk about climate change as a meaningful first step towards community climate conversations, an area that is now receiving attention but needs demystification. 

The Sapna report offers initial insights to demystify what multicultural climate conversations look like. One of the 12 respondents says, based on her own experiences that the story of climate impacts in South Asia cannot be told in the media or through mainstream climate movement messages. ‘We unfortunately talk only about how Australia’s future is at risk. As a result, although we (the climate movement) reached a lot of people, we did not reach our people’. (pg. 19). Another respondent narrates a conversation with her father: about floods in a Bangladeshi village ‘back home’ and extreme heat in western Sydney in their ‘new home’; effectively two worlds joined together to tell a climate story that is meaningful for them. The evidence is on the table about the need to connect where migrant communities come from and where they live to make a meaningful climate story, as also seen through recent research in Australia by the Multicultural Leadership Initiative. 

Right now, Sapna, along with Democracy in Colour and Australian Youth Climate Coalition, partnering with the University of New South Wales, is recruiting for a research that shines the spotlight on how migrant people of colour households talk about climate change. Building on initial findings in the Sapna report, the research wants to find out what ‘intergenerational’ climate conversations between first generation migrant parents and second-generation youth (18-30), look like. We hope that stories from this research will give us the building blocks for generating climate conversations in the South Asian diaspora. To find out more about the research and express interest to participate if eligible, please write to [email protected]

Read the Sapna report at: 

Sapna is a climate justice collective in the South Asian diaspora in Australia. Sapna means a dream in many South Asian languages. It stands for our vision for climate solutions grounded in justice and the hope of a climate movement that includes stories from South Asia. 

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