What about me? Factors affecting individual adaptive coping capacity across different populations

Authors: Kerrie Unsworth, Sally Russell, Stephan Lewandowsky, Carmen Lawrence, Kelly Fielding, Jon Heath, Alice Evans, Mark Hurlstone and Ilona McNeill
Year: 2013

This research provides a numberof insights into what be done to influence an individual’s adaptation behaviour. Importantly, it revealed that adaptive capacity and behaviours are not only driven by ‘green’ beliefs (such as rating environmental goals as important), meaning that adaptation can be improved even in people who are less interested in the environment. Framing the costs of reducing emission as a decrease in future gain, rather than as an opportunity cost, can also lead to greater willingness to commit to climate change initiatives. A combination of methods including interviews, surveys, survey experiments and face-to-face experiments were used to examine psychological drivers of individual-level adaptation across different populations, including Australian farmers, university students, company executives and board members, and among random samples of the general population, with individuals differentiated by political orientation, education levels, and age. A newly developed ‘Coping with Climate Change Tool’ (CCC) was used to understand and accurately measure the effects and causes of individual behaviour related to climate change adaptation both adaptive and maladaptive.

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