Citizen Engagement in Climate Adaptation Surveyed: The Role of Values, Worldviews, Gender and Place

Citation:

Brink, Ebba, and Christine Wamsler. 2019. "Citizen Engagement in Climate Adaptation Surveyed: The Role of Values, Worldviews, Gender and Place." Journal of Cleaner Production 209: 1342-53.

Authors: Ebba Brink, Christine Wamsler

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 gendered process, which is mediated by personal values, worldviews and placedaspects 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 ‘mitigationeadaptation 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.

Keywords: climate change adaptation, citizen participation, disaster risk reduction, ecosystem-based adaptation, inner dimensions, willingness to adapt

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.