THE STRUGGLE FOR LIVELIHOOD: HOW SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECT THE WAY SOUTH AFRICAN AUDIENCES UNDERSTAND CLIMATE CHANGE

Alet Janse van Rensburg

Abstract


The way audiences form perceptions about climate change has become a widely studied topic. The fact the there is still a reluctance among people to believe and act on very concerning scientific projections about the effects of climate change has led to a surge in research about the reasons for this. While much work has been done in developed countries, little is known about how people in developing countries make sense of climate change. In South Africa, development issues such as poverty and health inevitably frame any discussion about climate change. This article looks critically at how cultural considerations and social factors influence the way people make sense of climate change. By making use of focus groups, the researcher looked at the ways typical vulnerable audiences negotiate the importance of climate change relative to other, more pressing issues. Its primary finding is that these audiences have a vague understanding of the science and its relevance to them, and that cultural and social priorities overshadow the way they view climate change.

 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5789/10-1-262

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