|Thursday, June 25|
As the reality of climate change is upon us, research agendas are expanding to consider both mitigation and the impacts of adaptation. It is more urgent than ever to focus on adapting and becoming resilient to environmental change and to reflect on the implications of the change over time from planning for change to reactive management. This symposium intends to explore different aspects of contemporary resilience for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and to the consequent increasing natural hazards frequency. As society has moved from aversion to reaction, everyday resilience has also necessarily evolved over time. The symposium will present recent findings on mitigation, more specifically with regards to the motivations behind the engagement of citizens in mitigation-related pro-environmental behaviors and on actions that reduce the human impact on climate. The main focus will be on adaptation to climate change and, more broadly, to natural hazards, in particular on the understudied social-psychological antecedents of resilient behaviors at both the individual and the community level, and during each temporal phases of natural hazard management. The symposium will finally discuss the acceptability of adaptation solutions, how to tackle this issue in policy-making contexts, and ways to improve communication.
* Silvia Ariccio, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
As the world burns: Understanding the psychological impacts of climate change on young Australians to promote resilience
* Amy Lykins, University of New England, Australia
Don Hine, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Suzanne Cosh, University of New England, Australia
Belinda Craig, University of New England, Australia
Clara Murray, University of New England, Australia
Melissa Parsons, University of New England, Australia
The Australian summer of 2019/2020 has exploded in fire. In the media, we regularly see images of burnt koalas, walls of fires ravaging towns, the Sydney Harbour rendered invisible due to impenetrable bushfire smoke, and thousands of people trapped on beaches awaiting military evacuation. As of mid-January, at least 27 people have died, over 2000 homes have been lost, 27 million acres have burned, and over 1 billion animals have perished. Against this backdrop, the eastern states have been suffering a 3-year-long drought, with a number of towns severely water-stressed and several having already run dry. Only time will tell if this was an extreme year or an indication of our new normal. What are the psychological impacts of these disasters on some of society’s most vulnerable members? Australian youth have been participating in climate strikes en masse, suggesting significant concern about climate change; however, we do not currently know what impact these events are having on those who will live longest in our increasingly unpredictable world. To investigate this, we developed a mixed-methods online survey targeting residents of New South Wales between the ages of 16 and 25. Participants will complete standardized measures assessing known psychological consequences of natural hazard exposure (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD, adjustment disorders, and substance abuse), as well as measures of “eco-anxiety” and concern about climate change. Follow-up qualitative questions ask about their thoughts on climate change and hope for their futures. Participants will be recruited via a representative, random sample of postcodes to ensure equal representation of metropolitan and rural/regional populations. Psychological data will be examined in the context of specific geographic and environmental factors (e.g., air quality, rainfall, drought/hazard exposure, temperatures, socioeconomic advantage). Data are being collected now, and will have implications for support targets and resilience-building efforts moving into the future.
Near-miss effect on individuals' perception of flooding risk and protective responses
* Simona Sacchi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Alessandro Bogani, University of Trento, Italy
Giulio Faccenda, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Luca Pancani, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Juliette Richetin, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Paolo Riva, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Climate change has been linked with an increase in flood hazard in many regions; thus, models estimating risk for urban areas will become increasingly important. However, these models generally disregard psychological variables likely to affect human responses to risk, exposure and vulnerability. The present contribution aimed to (i) explore how some cognitive processes affect lay people flood risk perception and mitigation behavior; (ii) integrate such psychological parameters in models assessing the potential consequences of the flood events. More specifically, the work focused on the near-miss effect that is the human tendency to underestimate present and future risks when a previous negative outcome is avoided by chance. In Study 1 (N = 225), the near-miss event was experimentally manipulated through a fictitious scenario; then, risk perception and behavioral intentions were assessed among inhabitants of both flood-prone and low flood risk areas. In Study 2, a series of agent-based models simulating a neighborhood in a flood-prone area was implemented, in which artificial households had to decide whether to purchase insurance against flood-related damage. The agents’ decision-making process was driven by parameters estimated in the prior experiment. The results showed that, if compared to the control condition, participants in near-miss condition perceived a lower level of risk and, consequently, were less prone to adopt protective measures. Moreover, the agent-based models integrating the psychological variables showed that such an underestimation of the flooding likelihood is likely to increase the expected damages caused by the natural disaster. Overall, our work suggests that psychologically-refined models might serve as a solid basis for investigating the influence of subjective risk on objective risk. Such models could become increasingly useful in the future to support flood risk analysis and to inform households, insurers, policy-makers.
The seismic resilience questionnaire: a tool for policy making in earthquake-prone areas
* Silvia Ariccio, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Marino Bonaiuto, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Community resilience does not only depend on the geophysical condition and on the available facilities and infrastructures, but it also depends on inhabitants’ social-psychological condition. Yet, no tool is currently available to measure social-psychological community resilience in seismic-prone areas. The goal of this project is thus to create a tool to measure human resilience components and to define social-psychological factors behind it. The present contribution thus proposes a theoretical framework of social-psychological variables contributing to community resilience in the seismic-risk context. The framework considers resilience at all the levels of the risk management process: before, during, and after the natural hazard . Resilience antecedents, instead, are organized in three clusters: individual-risk factors (risk perception, objective knowledge, subjective knowledge, previous experience), individual-community factors (place attachment, trust in institutions, attribution of responsibility, social norms, sense of community, and social identity), socio-demographic and personality variables (gender, age, self-efficacy, fatalism). All of these factors are expected to affect the performance of resilient behaviours at all phases of risk management. Preliminary data (N=76) confirm that, in all phases, resilient behaviours are predicted by at least one factor of each of these three clusters. A questionnaire derived from this piloting measures resilience in all the phases and all of its main indicators, to help policy makers. This questionnaire could be employed for evaluating resilience of different places (e.g., neighbourhoods) and to establish which place needs a more urgent intervention to increase resilience. Moreover the tool could also help understanding what kind of intervention is more urgent (e.g., information campaign for increasing objective knowledge, social intervention to increase sense of community, etc.). Finally, parts of this tool could also be employed as a pre-post intervention test, in order to evaluate if a resilience intervention has reached its goal, i.e., increased the final resilience level of the community.
Resilience and risk: Towards an alternative and more sustainable lifestyle
* Ricardo García-Mira, University of A Coruna, Spain
Isabel Lema-Blanco, University of A Coruna, Spain
Research problem and background.- The human influence in the climatic system is clear, and the more we disturb the climate, the greater the risks of serious and irreversible impacts. In this context of finding adaptation strategies, communities have been identified as relevant for activating social changes towards more sustainable lifestyles. Lifestyles are conceptualized as patterns of time-use, taking place in given locations, which have associated consumption practices [Author (2017)]. We follow the argument from Frantzeskaki et al., (2017) that civil society initiatives can pioneer new social relations and practices therefore be an integral part of urban transformations, trying to contribute to the maintenance of a set of community needs that through social innovation can empower the population in new ways of coping with risk and driving sustainability transitions. Research objectives.- This paper combines insights from psychology on dimensions that try to explain the engagement of citizens in sustainable initiatives, obstacles, and variables that influence sustainable behaviour in transitions to sustainability. The work explores how these initiatives are challenging existing patterns and proposing alternatives for coping with risk. Research methods.- Through multi-method empirical research, including both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, we explored the complex array of factors influencing (un)sustainable lifestyle choices, and also zoomed in on members of sustainability initiatives. Results.- The results point out the relevance of promoting more community activities, which ideally would allow the involvement in more sustainable behaviours. The interaction with community organizations provide a reference which empower its members for becoming more resilient in coping with future risk and threats. Implication for policy and research.- The types of policies required to steer behaviour in a sustainable direction are still not clear, due to the complexity of factors influencing behaviour change and the difficulty of mapping effects of policy combinations over time [(author et al., 2017)].
Awe, Inspiration, and Environmental Efficacy: Can We Wow! Our Way out of Climate Melancholia?
* Chris Neale, University of Virginia, United States
Maura Austin, University of Virginia, United States
Ben Converse, University of Virginia, United States
Jenny Roe, University of Virginia, United States
The issues surround climate change have been described as the perfect storm for behavioral paralysis. People are much better at responding to simple, certain, and immediate problems whereas climate change is complex, uncertain, and distant. The psychological consequences of this have been described as environmental melancholia, a sense of futility, hopelessness, and low efficacy. The purpose of this study is to investigate conditions in which environmental melancholia can be reduced; can we inspire hope about the future related to climate change? To do this, we present a range of experiments where participants are presented with various stimuli meant to ‘inspire’ climate related hope (such as technologically driven, sustainable futures) against common, everyday climate related hope videos (such as traditional, pro-environmental behavior tutorials; composting, for example) or control videos that are not climate-relevant (e.g. a museum tour). We have used an amended version of the Beck Hopelessness Inventory (1988) to create an environmental hopelessness measure, a proxy for environmental melancholia, and assess changes to scores on this measure using these potentially inspiring video stimuli. As an alternative to ‘doom and gloom’ future scenarios, we present data across 10 experimental studies (n = 2351) that highlight the conditions in which hopelessness can be reduced in response to ‘awe-inspiring’ future visions in response to climate change. Across our experiments, we show how positive, achievable, technology driven future scenarios reduce hopelessness more than other alternative environmental or non-environmental scenarios (p < .001 in meta-analysis across studies). This research has wide reaching implications surrounding how climate change messaging is relayed and how we can potentially increase levels of hope related to climate change. Further discussion will be made on the potential relationship between hope and pro-environmental behavior.
* Marino Bonaiuto, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy