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How the people of India live with climate change and what communication can do

Sep 27, 2013

A major regional survey on climate change finds that Indians are least willing and able to take action.

BBC Media Action has launched Asia’s largest study into people’s experiences of climate change. Climate Asia forms a comprehensive picture of how people from poor farmers to urban professionals are responding to changes in their environment, and maps where communities are struggling and adapting.

Almost all of the 33,500 respondents across seven countries identified significant changes to their environment and basic resources – from increased temperatures and extreme weather events to decreases in water and food.

Information inequality

In India, almost half of respondents surveyed across Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Mumbai[3] were struggling or finding it impossible to take any action at all. A young man in Madhya Pradesh told researchers: “This problem does not have any solution. That’s why we are not doing anything.”

A large percentage (44%) of rural respondents felt that agricultural productivity had declined over the last ten years and farmers said that crops had declined due to unpredictable rainfall. But poor and rural communities had low access to information that could help them to manage shrinking resources such as water, which all groups reported as their biggest worry.

Only 17% of respondents in Madhya Pradesh felt informed about how to respond to changes in their environment, and many simply did not feel that they could take individual action.

On the other hand, 74% of respondents in Mumbai said that they felt informed and better off urban respondents reported making changes such as saving energy, finding new water sources and planning for disasters.

Click here for the full report.

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