‘Climate policies of parties matter to 52% first-time voters in Tamil Nadu’: Study

Fifty five percent respondents from Tamil Nadu said that climate education and awareness of the climate crisis are the most effective ways to tackle climate change.
Representative image of a person voting.
Representative image of a person voting.
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More than half of Tamil Nadu’s first time voters said that the commitment to climate action shown by politicians will influence their voting choices in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, a recent survey showed. Among the 400 first time voters aged between 18 and 22 in Chennai and Coimbatore who participated in the survey from Tamil Nadu, 52.2% said their voting choices would be informed by how committed a party or politician is to climate. 

The study was conducted by Asar Social Impact Advisors, Climate Educators Network and CMSR Consultants. Around 1,600 first-time voters from across seven cities in Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal participated in it. 

The survey found that 73% of the youth who participated in the study from Tamil Nadu showed greater political engagement. The survey report quoted Sundarrajan from Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental organisation, as saying, “This is throwing light on the fact that young people are becoming more aware of climate change and are showing their concerns to political parties. Tamil Nadu’s political parties have to up their game and respond to this call to action.” 

While the respondents said that their voting preferences will be primarily influenced by both the climate crisis and public health crisis, followed by economic crisis and unemployment, they ranked economic crisis, public health crisis, and then the climate crisis as the top three “most important [crises] they are worried about.

The research aimed to understand the awareness or lack of it about climate education among first time voters’ and their expectations about the same. More than half the respondents (55%) from Tamil Nadu also said that climate education and awareness of the climate crisis are the most effective ways to tackle climate change. 

The survey design included a questionnaire followed by focus group discussions. While 73% of the respondents said they have adequate knowledge on climate change, the focus group discussions reflected otherwise. As per the findings, the major focus in schools is on global warming and several respondents felt that the curriculum in schools and educational institutions need to be improved. Participants from other states also echoed similar sentiments about climate change education.

The research was conducted by three organisations including CMSR Consultants, which is a multidisciplinary research and communication think tank that specialises in social and policy research, Climate Educator’s Network (CEN), which builds local and national climate initiatives and programmes, and by Asar Social Impact Advisors, an organisation that focuses on conducting research on social and environmental issues.

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