Review Article | Published:

Cultural dimensions of climate change impacts and adaptation

Nature Climate Change volume 3, pages 112117 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Society's response to every dimension of global climate change is mediated by culture. We analyse new research across the social sciences to show that climate change threatens cultural dimensions of lives and livelihoods that include the material and lived aspects of culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place. We find, furthermore, that there are important cultural dimensions to how societies respond and adapt to climate-related risks. We demonstrate how culture mediates changes in the environment and changes in societies, and we elucidate shortcomings in contemporary adaptation policy.

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Acknowledgements

Collaboration for this research was supported by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK. J.B. was supported by Australian Research Council project DP0556977 and K.B. was supported through a Professorial Fellowship from UK Economic and Social Research Council (grant RES-051-27-0263).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK

    • W. Neil Adger
  2. Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, 221 Bouverie Street, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia

    • Jon Barnett
  3. Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn, TR10 9EZ, UK

    • Katrina Brown
  4. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and Climate Adaptation Flagship, ATSIP Building, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia

    • Nadine Marshall
  5. Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Postbox 1096, Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway

    • Karen O'Brien

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Contributions

W.N.A. and K.B. formulated and planned the paper. All authors undertook the analysis and interpretation and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to W. Neil Adger.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1666

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