Coastal Urban and Peri-Urban Indigenous People’s Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change
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This chapter discusses the adaptive capacity of coastal urban and peri-urban Indigenous People’s to climate change. It is based on the findings of a National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) funded project that utilised a series of case studies that engaged key representatives from Indigenous organisations in five coastal locations in three states of south-eastern Australia (Low Choy D, Clarke P, Jones D, Serrao-Neumann S, Hales R, Koschade O et al., Aboriginal reconnections: understanding coastal urban and peri-urban Indigenous people’s vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 139 pp, 2013). The study has highlighted the social, economic and environmental impacts on urban and peri-urban Indigenous communities inhabiting coastal areas throughout south-eastern Australia. These impacts include a loss of community and environmental assets, such as cultural heritage sites, with significant impacts on their quality of life and the establishment of potential favourable conditions for the spread of plant diseases, weeds and pests. The study also found that opportunities did not readily exist for engagement with climate change adaptation policy and initiatives and this was further exacerbated by acute shortages of qualified/experienced Indigenous members that could represent their communities’ interests in climate change adaptation forums. The evidence emerging from this research clearly demonstrates that Aboriginal people’s consideration of the future, even with the overlay of climate change and the requirements for serious considerations of adaptation, are significantly influenced and dominated by economic aspirations which are seen as fundamental survival strategies for their communities. A number of specific climate change induced issues to emerge from the research included: the potential for Indigenous involvement in the ‘bush tucker’ industry utilising wild plant species will potentially suffer from changes in species availability; concern was expressed about changes associated with peri-urban and urban development which appears to be escalating micro-environmental changes; peri-urbanisation is a major environmental change which threatens cultural assets including Aboriginal sites; Indigenous communities need representation in climate change adaptation forums and to be more directly involved in land and sea care projects. The chapter concludes with recommendations to better position Aboriginal engagement and knowledge systems in the wider climate change adaptation policy discourse.
Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities
© The Author(s) 2016. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
Land Use and Environmental Planning