ILWS Strategic Research Area
Social Aspects of Climate Change Adaptation
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency $43,700
Dr Joanne Millar, ILWS, Dr Helen Boon, JCU, Dr David King, JCU & Dr Alison Cottrell, JCU
This project investigated how individuals prepared, responded and recovered from natural disaster events in Australia. The aim was to draw conclusions on adaptation and resilience to natural disasters, and perceptions of climate change. Qualitative interviews and focus groups were held in 2010 across four sites that had experienced disasters in the last decade; Beechworth (bushfires), Innisfail (cyclone larry), Ingham (floods) and Bendigo (drought). A quantitative survey of 1,008 households followed in 2011 which used Structural Equation Modelling to analyse the results.
Results showed that resilience is both an individual trait and a process. The strongest direct predictor of resilience was adaptability and a sense of place. Indirect influences, mediated via adaptability, were: financial capacity, family and neighbour support, communications and climate change knowledge. Community demographic data supported our hypothesis that individuals remaining in the community were resilient. They also suggested the four communities were resilient to disaster. The relationship between climate change views and disaster experience was complex, needing further exploration in rural and regional Australia.
Millar, J., Boon, H., Stevenson, B., Cottrell, A., King D., Stelling, A. (2012) The influence of bushfire experiences on attitudes to climate change in southern Australia. Paper presented at the International Symposium for Society and Resource Management, Edmonton, Canada. 17-21 June 2012.
Millar, J., Boon, H., Stevenson, B., Cottrell, A., King D., Stelling, A. and Rogers, M. (2012) Individual and community resilience to natural disasters: a comparison of bushfire and drought events in Victoria. Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference. Brisbane, April 16 – 18, 2012. Pp. 285-300
Stelling, A, Millar, J., Boon, H., Cottrell, A., King, D. Stevenson, B. (2011). Recovery from Natural Disasters: Community experiences of bushfires in North East Victoria 2003 to 2009 ILWS Report No. 65. Charles Sturt University, Albury.
Boon, H., Cotterill, A., Stephenson, R., Millar, J., King, D., Lake, D. (2012) Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory for modelling community resilience to natural disasters Natural Hazards Volume 60, Issue 2, Pages 381-408
Boon, H.J., Millar, J, Lake, D., Cottrell, A. & King, D. (2012) Recovery from disaster: Resilience, adaptability and perceptions of climate change. Its effect on perceptions of climate change risk and on adaptive behaviours to prevent, prepare, and respond to future climate contingencies, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 467 pp. ISBN:978-1-921609-63-3.
Outcomes Recommendations have been made to emergency managers in Queensland and Victoria, and policy makers in the DECC.
Dr Joanne Millar
Charles Sturt University – Albury