Conceptualising climate change in rural Australia : community perceptions, attitudes and (in) actions

Buys, Laurie, Miller, Evonne, & van Megen, Kimberley (2012) Conceptualising climate change in rural Australia : community perceptions, attitudes and (in) actions. Regional Environmental Change, 12(1), pp. 237-248.

View at publisher


Public engagement and support is essential for ensuring adaptation to climate change. The first step in achieving engagement is documenting how the general public currently perceive and understand climate change issues, specifically the importance they place on this global problem and identifying any unique challenges for individual communities. For rural communities, which rely heavily on local agriculture industries, climate change brings both potential impacts and opportunities. Yet, to date, our knowledge about how rural residents conceptualise climate change is limited. Thus, this research explores how the broader rural community – not only farmers – conceptualise climate change and responsive activities, focussing on documenting the understandings and risk perceptions of local residents from two small Australian rural communities. Twenty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted in communities in the Eden/Gippsland region on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, and the North-East of Tasmania. There are conflicting views on how climate change is conceptualised, the degree of concern and need for action, the role of local industry, who will 'win' and 'lose', and the willingness of rural communities to adapt. In particular, residents who believed in anthropogenic or human-induced factors described the changing climate as evidence of 'climate change', whereas those who were more sceptical termed it 'weather variability', suggesting that there is a divide in rural Australia that, unless urgently addressed, will hinder local and national policy responses to this global issue. Engaging these communities in the 21st century climate change debate will require a significant change in terminology and communication strategies.

Impact and interest:

28 citations in Scopus
22 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

599 since deposited on 10 Nov 2011
86 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 46920
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Climate Change, Weather Variability, Community Perceptions, Rural Australia, Agriculture
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-011-0253-6
ISSN: 1436-3798
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Management (050205)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Springer.
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2011 03:22
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 00:19

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page