Advanced

Citizen engagement in climate adaptation surveyed : The role of values, worldviews, gender and place

Brink, Ebba LU and Wamsler, Christine LU (2019) In Journal of Cleaner Production 209. p.1342-1353
Abstract

Local governments’ limited mandate and capacity to adequately deal with increasing climate risk and impacts means that citizen engagement is becoming increasingly important for adapting to hazards such as floods and storms. Stronger collaborative approaches are urgently needed. At the same time, there is little research and hardly any empirical evidence on what inspires adaptation engagement in different citizen groups. Against this background, this paper examines the external/material (e.g., resources, hazards, public support) and internal aspects (e.g., values and worldviews) that shape people's engagement in and for adaptation. Based on a survey of Swedish citizens at risk from severe climate events, we show that engagement is a... (More)

Local governments’ limited mandate and capacity to adequately deal with increasing climate risk and impacts means that citizen engagement is becoming increasingly important for adapting to hazards such as floods and storms. Stronger collaborative approaches are urgently needed. At the same time, there is little research and hardly any empirical evidence on what inspires adaptation engagement in different citizen groups. Against this background, this paper examines the external/material (e.g., resources, hazards, public support) and internal aspects (e.g., values and worldviews) that shape people's engagement in and for adaptation. Based on a survey of Swedish citizens at risk from severe climate events, we show that engagement is a gendered process, which is mediated by personal values, worldviews and place—aspects rarely considered in public adaptation. While a high level of diverse citizen action is often related to past experiences of hazards, motivation to adapt goes beyond the idea of acting out of rational self-interest. Economic considerations (e.g., low cost) are not the only motivation to adapt; the potential of an adaptation action to contribute to green, thriving surroundings and mitigate global climate change was found nearly as (and among female respondents, more) motivating. Women were also found to be more motivated to engage in adaptation if this supports other community members at risk. At the same time, past adaptation action could not be linked to motivation to adapt, and was found to be negatively correlated with communitarian and ecological values or worldviews. This confirms that motivation to adapt does not automatically translate into action, and indicates a ‘mitigation–adaptation gap’ in people's climate awareness, which can lead to ineffective climate responses. Given these findings, we discuss alternative approaches to support increased citizen engagement and more effective and transformative climate action. We end with a call for public adaptation and risk communication that takes greater account of inner/subjective dimensions.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Citizen participation, Climate change adaptation, Disaster risk reduction, Ecosystem-based adaptation, Inner dimensions, Willingness to adapt
in
Journal of Cleaner Production
volume
209
pages
12 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85057173195
ISSN
0959-6526
DOI
10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.10.164
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
521d81f6-be3e-4229-bf5d-739e61891f30
date added to LUP
2018-12-03 08:56:04
date last changed
2019-11-13 05:22:01
@article{521d81f6-be3e-4229-bf5d-739e61891f30,
  abstract     = {<p>Local governments’ limited mandate and capacity to adequately deal with increasing climate risk and impacts means that citizen engagement is becoming increasingly important for adapting to hazards such as floods and storms. Stronger collaborative approaches are urgently needed. At the same time, there is little research and hardly any empirical evidence on what inspires adaptation engagement in different citizen groups. Against this background, this paper examines the external/material (e.g., resources, hazards, public support) and internal aspects (e.g., values and worldviews) that shape people's engagement in and for adaptation. Based on a survey of Swedish citizens at risk from severe climate events, we show that engagement is a gendered process, which is mediated by personal values, worldviews and place—aspects rarely considered in public adaptation. While a high level of diverse citizen action is often related to past experiences of hazards, motivation to adapt goes beyond the idea of acting out of rational self-interest. Economic considerations (e.g., low cost) are not the only motivation to adapt; the potential of an adaptation action to contribute to green, thriving surroundings and mitigate global climate change was found nearly as (and among female respondents, more) motivating. Women were also found to be more motivated to engage in adaptation if this supports other community members at risk. At the same time, past adaptation action could not be linked to motivation to adapt, and was found to be negatively correlated with communitarian and ecological values or worldviews. This confirms that motivation to adapt does not automatically translate into action, and indicates a ‘mitigation–adaptation gap’ in people's climate awareness, which can lead to ineffective climate responses. Given these findings, we discuss alternative approaches to support increased citizen engagement and more effective and transformative climate action. We end with a call for public adaptation and risk communication that takes greater account of inner/subjective dimensions.</p>},
  author       = {Brink, Ebba and Wamsler, Christine},
  issn         = {0959-6526},
  keyword      = {Citizen participation,Climate change adaptation,Disaster risk reduction,Ecosystem-based adaptation,Inner dimensions,Willingness to adapt},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1342--1353},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Cleaner Production},
  title        = {Citizen engagement in climate adaptation surveyed : The role of values, worldviews, gender and place},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.10.164},
  volume       = {209},
  year         = {2019},
}