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Key findings
  • Mauritians are divided as to whether climate conditions for agricultural production have gotten worse (37%) or remained the same (42%) over the past decade. A majority (55%) say flooding has become “somewhat” or “much” more severe, while 44% say the same about drought.
  • More than eight in 10 Mauritians (83%) have heard of climate change. Lack of awareness of climate change is more common among older, less educated, and poor Mauritians, as well as among residents of the Black River, Moka, Savanne, and Port Louis regions.
  • Among respondents who have heard of climate change, three-fourths (77%) associate it with negative changes in the weather, and 61% attribute it mainly to human activity.
  • Six in 10 citizens (61%) say climate change is making life in Mauritius “somewhat” or “much” worse.
  • A majority of respondents believe that ordinary Mauritians can do “a little bit (43%) or “a lot” (19%) to stop climate change.

For Mauritius, the small island nation that Mark Twain referred to as the model for heaven, rising temperatures and rising sea levels can mean a host of threats, from more severe cyclones and floods to deterioration of coral reefs and beach erosion – an already-occurring phenomenon that the environment minister summed up this way: “Paradise is getting rocky” (Financial Times, 2017).

The government has been vocal about climate change and its potential consequences for the island’s all-important tourism industry, plant life, even physical safety (Commonwealth, 2017; Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, 2018; Mauritius Meteorological Services, 2018). Mauritius was one of the first countries to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and has worked to incorporate climate-change policies into its development strategies (Republic of Mauritius, 2016).

How do ordinary Mauritians see climate change? According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, a majority of Mauritians have heard of climate change and think it is making life worse in Mauritius. A majority attribute climate change to human activity and think ordinary Mauritians can help fight it.

Thomas Isbell

Post-doctoral research fellow and research assistant at Afrobarometer

Sadhiska Bhoojedhur

Sadhiska Bhoojedhur is a senior data analyst for Island Living, Mauritius.