Too poor to be green?

So, we did some research and it’s got covered in a way which we hadn’t quite intended, but nonetheless it’s time to be clear and up front about this, the working class feels it’s being ignored by environmental activism comms. Here’s the press release (without the Daily Mail rhetoric)

Over 40% of Brits believe that the environmental activism movement has ignored the working class in its communications.

Nearly a third (31%) feel the comms from the movement is aggressive, while almost a quarter (21%) see it as patronising or condescending.
Despite this sense of being alienated or shamed, around a quarter (24.6%) of those taking home less than £10,000 a year are prepared to sacrifice lifestyle choices

The study was commissioned by Don’t Cry Wolf and carried out by Find Out Now of 2,331 British residents (1,615 nationally representative).

Moreover, those who are unemployed are over four times more likely to describe communications from the movement as ‘shaming’ than those identified as upper-middle class.

Despite this sense of being alienated or shamed, around a quarter (24.6%) of those taking home less than £10,000 a year are prepared to sacrifice lifestyle choices to help tackle climate change. In contrast, those least likely (23%) to make sacrifices earn over £150,000 a year.

Just 9.7% of respondents felt climate change was natural and not human-influenced and, therefore, didn’t require any attention.

John Brown, Founder of B Corp-certified creative agency Don’t Cry Wolf, believes that the gap in comms left by the environmental movement is filled by populist rhetoric, “We can’t keep telling people already struggling to survive that the apocalypse is coming. For many, it’s already here. We have to change the narrative.

“While we’ve had a crescendo of voices, research, and protests place the climate crisis on the mainstream agenda, the movement has failed to inspire the heart of society, and we’re seeing sinister and populist rhetoric fill the void.

“It’s clear that while the comms intent may have been of action, hope and information, what’s been received is aggression, shame and a patronising tone. In a bid to capitalise on this, we’re seeing our current government issue dog whistle after dog whistle, buoyed by both the inability of the environmental movement to rally the backbone of Britain and the by-election in Uxbridge.”

Just five per cent of respondents felt that the communications from the environmental activism movement were energising, and only six per cent felt it was helpful.

Brown concluded, “If we’re to stand any chance of turning the tide on carbon emissions, we have to get better at explaining to everyone how a regenerative and green economy can help to put pounds back into people’s pockets, create jobs and improve the distribution of wealth in this country. And we should do this in a way that invites society in rather than excludes it through shame.”

About the research
Find Out Now interviewed 2,328 GB adults from 20th September 2023 – 21st September 2023 and produced a nationally representative sample of 1,615 respondents representative by gender, age, social class, region Brexit vote and 2019 general election voting intention.

About Don’t Cry Wolf
Don’t Cry Wolf is a creative agency with an activism heart. It works with brands across multiple industries to tell their story through campaigns, branding and out-of-home activations. Its clients include Vivobarefoot, Natura & Co, B Lab, Green Chef and Motatos. Don’t Cry Wolf is a certified B Corp.