How Environmental Justice Advocates Use Public Opinion Research to Win

Summary of top take-aways from the conversation:

  1. YPCCC’s recent report examined support for policies in key areas related to climate justice goals. There is high overall support for policies that support just transition. For example, about two in three Americans (68%) support increasing funding to low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately harmed by air and water pollution.
  2. Panelists discussed several case studies detailing how their organizations have used public opinion research in organizing and advocacy. Public opinion polls provide valuable insights and data on what the population is thinking and feeling, especially outside the  immediate circles of environmental justice (EJ) groups. This helps EJ organizations meet people where they are, understand what they want, and connect with their audiences. In applying insights from public opinion polling to advocacy, it is well to keep in mind that “we are more united than disunited, and that is how we win.”
  3. Panelists called for future research and analysis that illuminates the multiplicity of public views and how they vary by race, degree of engagement at the frontline of advocacy, gender, age, and identity. They shared a need for collecting stories and storytelling to better understand communities.
  4. Panelists highlighted the need to not only listen to communities in setting research agendas but also to make space for communities speak for themselves. They called for tools and training so communities can effectively participate in research and conduct their own research. WE ACT shared some examples of public opinion research they have conducted, underscoring the investment in future research they are making.

This event was co-sponsored with the Yale Center for Environmental Justice.