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Making Sense, Taking Action in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Exploring the Situated-ness of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Greenaway, Alison; Carswell, Fiona; Harmsworth, Garth; Russell, Shona
Conference: International Conference on Climate Change & Social Issues 2011
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Conf. Date: 14-15 December
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7744
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): indigenous knowledge
social science
social change
climate change
Abstract: "New Zealand’s responses in the face of climate change range from the central government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), to infrastructure adaptations in settlements, to reframing of how social research engages with the phenomenon of climate change. While energy producers and agri-industry leaders successfully lobbied the New Zealand government to extend time frames for the ETS, citizens groups, companies, Ma-ori organisations and householders continued to take individual and collective action on climate change. This paper shares insights from a research project that started by identifying tools for mitigating greenhouse gases (GHG) and ended up exploring the circumstances through which people make sense of and thus respond to climate change challenges. We realized the importance of context on a) the production of social knowledge around climate change and b) the enactment of collective or individual agency (the capacity to take action). Our analysis is drawn from internet and telephone surveys, video interviews, policy documents, a workshop, media reviews and participant observations. Strategies for mitigation and adaptation become most useful when they support social knowledge about both climatic and social change. We argue that articulating the diversity and distinctiveness of possible knowledge-action responses is an important part of addressing the world’s climate change challenges."

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