Learning about climate: an exploration of the socialisation of climate change
While the term “climate change” is highly recognized by the nonscientific general public, understandings of its manifestations are varied, contrasting, and complex. It is argued that this is because climate change has become simultaneously a physical and a social phenomenon. Thus, climate change is becoming socialized through nonscientific interpretation. Research has considered the roles of independent sources of information used to inform these communities, ranging from media sources to personal experiences. However, little consideration has been made of the interplay between information sources and how these sources are perceived by nonscientific communities in terms of trust. This paper presents a qualitative study of 52 ski industry stakeholders in Queenstown, New Zealand. It explores the sources of information used by these communities to construct understandings about climate change, their perceptions of these sources, the dominant interpretive factors, and the interactions between the information sources. It finds that personal experiences of weather are used to interpret other sources of information and are drawn upon to corroborate and reject the existence of climate change and its relevance for their locality. This paper concludes that locally relevant information on climate change is required to ensure that it is applicable to nonscientific realities and lived experiences.
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Rights Statement: © 2014 American Meteorological Society
Keywords: Social Phenomena of Climate Change; Climate; Weather; New Zealand; Local effects; Risk assessment
Research Type: Journal Article