Addressing climate change at the community level: opportunities for, and challenges to, mainstreaming sustainable development

Axon, Stephen
(2015) Addressing climate change at the community level: opportunities for, and challenges to, mainstreaming sustainable development. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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In recent years, the UK has positioned itself to become a global leader in addressing climate change. Alongside this positioning, there has been an increasing emphasis on the role of communities to facilitate and sustain carbon reduction practices. Community-based carbon reduction strategies are one example of action towards achieving sustainability and addressing climate change. Previous research into community-based sustainability projects has highlighted the difficulty of engaging the public with community initiatives and sustaining pro-environmental behaviours. The importance placed on major environmental issues such as climate change necessitates an understanding of how individuals respond to, and engage with, (or even ignore) the issue(s) of addressing climate change. This study explores public engagements with addressing climate change and community-based carbon reduction strategies, utilising a mixed methodological approach and underpinned by a pragmatic paradigm. The findings in this study demonstrate that there is a shift in public attitudes from whether climate change is occurring and if humans are the cause, to views considering whether and how climate change should be addressed. Whilst few identified formal community projects, collective action and community initiatives are identified as key components of sustainable living. The findings suggest that participants accept the concepts of community projects aiming to facilitate low-carbon living, and are prepared to engage with them on a number of cognitive, affective and behavioural levels, demonstrating intentions to (proactively) participate in such projects. Alongside this, participants suggested that other people’s (non)participation and the ability of community-based projects to effectively and meaningfully engage residents would contribute towards sustaining interest and enthusiasm to sustain participation, in ways that residents identify as what works for them. Consequently, projects should continuously engage the public through tailored information and feedback; social events and activities; and create as many opportunities for community members to participate as possible, in ways that they want to become involved.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2015 10:30
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2020 01:30
DOI: 10.17638/02007839