Over the last few posts I’ve been talking about the projected impacts of climate change. I’ve focused on ones which will have the most extreme implications for our society, but one shouldn’t forget the little changes that global warming will bring. People may easily remove themselves from the plight of Mountain Pygmy Possum*1, for instance, which are seemingly unimportant to our way of life. But the truth is we will probably see the extinction of many native Australian species and this is just one of the additional impacts of climate change.
Anyway with all this talk about impacts I wanted to delve into how people think the impacts will play out in their own lives. A South Australian study has recently found that people perceive their personal risk to the impacts of climate to be less than the risks faced by others in the same situation, and less than that faced by the community as a whole. Interesting, those surveyed showed strong concern about climate change, perceived climatic changes to be highly likely to occur in the very near future, and agreed that disruption to homes, the community, as well as beach foreshore was likely as a result of such climatic changes*2, despite having no real concern for their own risk.
This has significant implications for behavioural change, and hence, proactive mitigation and adaption to affects, since adaptive capacity will not necessarily translate into adaptive actions.
*1 Pygmy Possum faces extinction due to climate change by Bill Birtles.
*2 Risk Perception and Adaption to Climate Change: Comparative Case Studies by Chris Button.