Saturday, July 05, 2008

The working class are more environmentalist than the middle class...

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As someone with very strong working class roots I get very cheesed off with the standard 'criticism' that environmentalism is just for the well-off, a middle-class luxury. This is rubbish. Just look at the environmental activity at the Knowle West Media Centre for instance, as well as my own 25 yr history of activity (see here), the rise in the green vote across Bristol South (including 15.6% of the vote in Knowle itself in 2007) as well as the latest poll data (below). The Bristol Blogger often trots out a class-based criticism of greens, so I sent him the message below this morning.

Blogger - sounds like that Mark Lynas is having a go at you and others who share your view when he says,

'Environmentalists are constantly accused of being middle-class lifestyle faddists, who don't understand the day-to-day financial pressures faced by "ordinary" working people. But the number of people who thought that environment should be the government's priority rather than the economy was substantially higher (56%) among the lower income, less well-educated DE demographic than among the better-off ABs (47%). Lower-income social groups also have a much lighter environmental footprint overall: only 42% of DEs took a foreign holiday over the last three years, whilst 77% of ABs did. Better-off people also own more cars, as you might expect – only 5% of DEs have three or more cars, whilst 15% of ABs do.

So perhaps anti-environmental class warriors like the editors of Spiked need to find a new cause to champion. The working-class people who they claim "can't afford to be concerned about climate change" actually care more about the future of the planet than the rich – and are doing a lot less damage to boot. So next time you hear someone defending motorway expansion or cheap flights on behalf of the British poor, ask yourself the question: whose side are they really on?'

As a very active environmentalist who was born, brought up and educated in Knowle West and who still lives in Knowle I think Mark Lynas has a strong point. The figures in the poll back him up.