Localising climate change: science, nature, fire and weather in the Blue Mountains
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 01:22 authored by Tshering Lama O'Gorman
The belt of south east Australia where the Blue Mountains lie, with its extensive Eucalypt forests, is among the most fire prone regions in the world. Co-existing with fire in coming decades will mean greater challenges for the people in this landscape as recent reports link climate change to increasing bushfire risk (Climate Change Authority, 2014; Hughes and Steffen, 2013). A survey by CSIRO (Leviston et. al. 2014, page 2) on the attitudes of Australians towards climate change show that 47.3% believe in human-induced climate change. But what does that mean in terms of how people behave and act for climate change? The same survey noted that the degree in surety of climate change did not predict behaviour. Experts have commented that climate science is reductionist, techno scientific and disengaged from the everyday lives of ordinary people (Brace and Geoghegan, 2010; Hulme 2009; Backstrand and Lovbrandt, 2006). This study contends that it is important to consider local perspectives on linkages of climate change to recurring natural hazards as these may provide acceptable approaches to adapting to and addressing increasing risks from climate change. Hence, drawing on Foucauldian theories on discourse and the work on social nature (Castree, 2005; Castree and Braun, 2001) this study analysed the social constructions of bushfire and climate change among pro-environmental Blue Mountains residents. The results of the study present strong evidence that individuals are merging science based knowledge with their lived experiences of place-based weather and landscape observations. The study participants shaped a dominant narrative that constructs bushfire as part of nature and life, but their practice in response to it was dependent on varied socio-economic and cultural backgrounds that in turn influenced their priorities for action. Overwhelmingly, the participants agreed that in the face of increasing bushfire risks, community engagement and mobilization would be the most practical and effective way to go. The findings indicate that communication on climate change needs to be context, culture and audience specific rather than abstract one-model-fits-all approaches. This study concludes that recognizing bushfire as a socio-ecological phenomenon, rather than simply a natural hazard, is an important step in developing appropriate locally-imbedded responses.
Table of Contents1. [Introduction] -- 2. Conceptual framework -- 3. Methodology -- 4. Results & discussions -- 5. Conclusions -- References -- Appendices.
Notes"Thesis presented for the Master of Research degree" Theoretical thesis. "10 October 2014" Includes bibliographical references
Awarding InstitutionMacquarie University
Degree TypeThesis MRes
DegreeMRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Environmental Sciences
Department, Centre or SchoolDepartment of Environmental Sciences
Year of Award2015
Principal SupervisorAndrew McGregor
RightsCopyright Tshering Lama O'Gorman 2015. Copyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au
JurisdictionNew South Wales
Extent1 online resource (x, 84 pages) illustrations, maps
Former Identifiersmq:44262 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/1067741
climate changeForest fires -- Social aspects -- New South Wales -- Blue MountainsForest firesForest fires -- Prevention and control -- New South Wales -- Blue MountainsWildfires -- New South Wales -- Blue MountainsfireForest fires -- Environmental aspects -- New South Wales -- Blue MountainsClimatic changesClimatic changes -- Environmental aspects -- New South Wales -- Blue MountainsWildfiresClimatic changes -- Social aspects -- New South Wales -- Blue Mountains