Scientific Publication

Gender and climate change in the Indian Himalayas: global threats, local vulnerabilities, and livelihood diversification at the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve


Research on South Goulburn Island aimed to improve understanding of Indigenous perspectives on climate change and options for adaptation within the scope of the local coastal, marine environment and resources utilized by the community. We also aimed to promote awareness among community members of western scientific concepts of climate change. Workshops and interviews with participants emphasized the use of participatory, visual techniques to encourage discussion and visioning of the future. Participants indicated very limited understanding of western concepts and English language terms associated with climate change and why change was occurring. However, in deeper conversations, many reported observing unusual patterns of environmental change they could not explain by other means. These observations, combined with changes in customary practices and loss of local knowledge in recent years, worried participants, particularly the elderly. The idea that climate change was resulting from human impacts on the environment was an easy concept for most participants to grasp. The demonstrated worldviews of participants was dominated by social and cultural links to the past and present, but had weaker links to western concepts of ‘the future’. Thus, discussions around planning adaptation did not generally fit easily into peoples' framings of their worlds. People's preferences for adaptation included building general community capacity, drawing from customary knowledge, being more involved in decision-making and learning more about scientific knowledge on climate change. Enabling collection of plant and animal foods and associated interaction with the landscape was also considered important for improving community independence, resilience and well-being for adaptation.