The 2021 Census, Right Wing Environmentalism, Rare Disease Day

Authors: Kate Savin, Liam Clifford
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: March 2, 2021

| NAILED IT: The 2021 census goes digital

The British state has been taking some sort of census since the Domesday Book of 1086. Over 1000 years later, it’s about to go digital for the first time. 

Originally commissioned to assess property and land ownership, in recent years the census has become a valuable tool for ascertaining population numbers and demographics, which can be used to develop better government policy and aid historians.

On 21st March all UK households will be asked to complete a questionnaire about themselves and their co-residents via an online form, though paper versions will be available upon request. The Office of National Statistics (ONS), who is collecting the data, hopes to get over 75% of responses digitally.

Unlike previous years, the ONS is making a concerted effort to reach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic households this year after up to 10% fewer of these households responded to the 2011 census than the general population. Hundreds of community engagement advisers have been recruited to work with ethnic and religious groups. In another first, it is also collecting data on the country’s LGBTQ+ population, asking questions about gender identity and sexual orientation. 

It’s refreshing to see a concerted effort being made this year to address some of the statistical gaps in our national picture. In itself, the changes reflect progress within the last decade towards equality. Let’s hope the 2031 census only improves on this trend.

| ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:  The dangers of ‘Green Nationalism’

What happens when the tabloids take on climate change? Interesting times for the British media space: a number of right wing titles have been unveiling new, rather uncharacteristic, climate-focused initiatives recently. 

Among those leading the charge are the Daily Express, who are calling for a ‘Green Britain Revolution’ and the Sun, installing a brand new climate Green Team.

The new approach is leaving climate activists with some decidedly mixed feelings. While there’s been a tentative, warm reaction from some, many remain intensely suspicious. After all, while any help in the fight against climate catastrophe is welcome — and these publications have a reach to audiences that are traditionally difficult for activists to convince, or even reach — many of these titles have spent a large amount of time over the last few decades providing spaces for climate scepticism and denial to run rampant.

There’s also significant worry that marrying the messages of environmentalism with more negative ideals like rampant nationalism could have consequences for the wider movement — climate change is a global problem, and one that affects people in low- and middle-income countries the greatest. Many of those core fights lie beyond our borders, and this may well end up minimising and silencing them.

We’ll need to be vigilant as time wears on. Fighting climate change is clearly key for the survival of our planet — but we have to be careful of the costs. The ends don’t always justify the means, particularly if it means a less inclusive world on the other side.

| ONE TO WATCH:  A big week for social impact 

It’s a pretty bumper week in the world of social impact, with large-scale world awareness and action days aplenty coming up — and we’ve had the honour to have a hand in all of them.

First up, Rare Disease Day launched on Sunday 28th, celebrating the 300 million people across the world, united in their lives with rare diseases, with a record-smashing 555 events in over 100 countries. Creating one cohesive brand that’s all about celebrating difference was a challenge — but we’re pretty of how it came out. Our brand director Louise tells us more in our latest op-ed.

Tomorrow, March 2nd, is She Decides Day, and we’re urging women everywhere to #TakeYourSeat at the table and have some frank discussions about sexual and reproductive health, power and bodily autonomy. Get yourself a digital pack of cards to help start a conversation now.

Finally, this Thursday (March 4th) is World Obesity Day. Obesity is a disease that affects over 800 million people worldwide and its causes are deeply ingrained in our society. This year, we’re working with the World Obesity Alliance to help people come together to create a better world, where every body has the policy, protection and respect it deserves.

World days like these are important — they’re a perfect opportunity for us to act together, celebrate and educate —so make sure you take part. Every voice counts.