Research: Cultural dimensions of climate change are underestimated, overlooked and misunderstood

November 11, 2012, University of Exeter

The impact of climate change on many aspects of cultural life for people all over the world is not being sufficiently accounted for by scientists and policy-makers. University of Exeter-led research by an international team, published on 11th November in Nature Climate Change, shows that cultural factors are key to making climate change real to people and to motivating their responses.

From enjoying beaches or winter sports and visiting iconic natural spaces to using traditional methods of and construction in our daily lives, the research highlights the cultural experiences that bind our communities and are under threat as a result of . The paper argues that governments' programmes for dealing with the consequences of climate change do not give enough consideration to what really matters to individuals and communities.

Culture binds people together and helps them overcome threats to their environments and livelihoods. Some are already experiencing such threats and profound changes to their lives. For example, the Polynesian Island of Niue, which experiences cyclones, has a population of 1,500 with four times as many Niueans now living in New Zealand. The research shows that most people remaining on the island resist migrating because of a strong attachment to the island. There is strong evidence to suggest that it is important for people's emotional well-being to have control over whether and where they move. The researchers argue that these have not been addressed.

Lead researcher Professor Neil Adger of the University of Exeter said: "Governments have not yet addressed the cultural losses we are all facing as a result of and this could have catastrophic consequences. If the cultural dimensions of climate change continue to be ignored, it is likely that responses will fail to be effective because they simply do not connect with what matters to individuals and communities. It is vital that the cultural impact of climate change is considered, alongside plans to adapt our physical spaces to the changing environment."

Professor Katrina Brown from the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute adds: "The evidence is clear; when people experience the impacts of climate change in places that matter to them, the problems become real and they are motivated to make their futures more sustainable. This is as true in coastal Cornwall as in Pacific Islands."

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4 / 5 (8) Nov 11, 2012
If you can't reduce it to dollars, then Economists ignore it.

How many dollars worth of love do you have for your wife and children?

How many dollars worth of joy is there in a walk through the forest?

How many dollars is the squirrel that visits your back porch worth?

What is the marginal value of the clean water that runs from your faucet?

Those who seek to put a price on everything, know the value of nothing.

1.7 / 5 (12) Nov 11, 2012
Of all the agw/climate change drivel I've read (or even heard of), this article is the most asinine.

3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 11, 2012
ScooTard has no dollars of love for his wife or children.

Capitalists are sad for him.

His credit card company is offering him a loan of 1000 dollars worth of love for his family for the low, low rate of only 25 percent per year.
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 12, 2012
"cultural factors are key to making climate change real to people and to motivating their responses"
Hmm .. sounds more like propoganda than science to me!
Surely some actual climate change might do the trick of convincing people it was real?
This is really an article about a new avenue of fear mongering and tithe generation from the Church of CAGW... fleece the believer, shun the heretic!
1 / 5 (1) Nov 12, 2012
"Surely some actual climate change might do the trick of convincing people it was real?"

So is data of any interest to you Star?


What would constitute evidence of global warming for you?

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