First published August 21, 2013
JCU is conducting a research project in the Charters Towers region to examine attitudes to, and behaviours on sustainability and climate change mitigation.
JCU will distribute a survey to 5000 homes in the region next week via post and an online questionnaire is also available.
Professor Lynne Eagle, from JCU’s School of Business, said the project was designed to help gain the perspective of those affected by climate change and sustainability.
“Few people now question or deny the gravity of the sustainability issues being faced both nationally and internationally,” Professor Eagle said.
“Environmental degradation, food security challenges and climate change present complex problems that have the potential to adversely impact the sustainability of individual and community lifestyles and health.
“However, the majority of current sustainability indicators are based on a national-level data that may overlook critical local issues and community priorities.
“This project’s focus is on ‘local knowledge’ in Charters Towers will therefore be important for community leaders, members, and policy makers.”
Professor Eagle said the study would aim to gain people’s views about the meaning and relevance of sustainability, climate change, and climate change adaptation.
“We are also investigating the role of community leadership and individual community members in addressing these issues.”
Professor Eagle said the study would also attempt to define the barriers that prevent positive action to address sustainability and climate change issues and how they might be overcome.
“We are also looking at frequency of use and the trustworthiness of a range of information sources regarding sustainability and climate change, as well as preferences for the way future information about these issues is made available.”
Changing weather patterns and recent extreme weather events had increased discussions at all levels about what actions can or should be taken, she said.
“A key question is whether strategies should focus on mitigation, adaptation, or both.”
Professor Eagle said mitigation efforts had a primarily global or national focus, but adaptation needed to be local.
“Local actions focus on responses to context and conditions. As such, they tap into the potential for community engagement in co-created solutions that are both innovative and best suited to the local environment and communities within it.”
The first phase of the study is a questionnaire, which is available online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KYMYPFP
Printed copies will also be distributed to households via Australia Post next week.
Once the questionnaire responses have been analysed, each community will be visited by a member of the research team to discuss the findings.
A series of focus groups will then be run in these centres to explore in more detail key issues identified in the questionnaire phase.
Findings and implications will be discussed with community leaders and potential communication strategies identified. The wider community will then be consulted to help create practical and meaningful adaptation strategies.
If any residents have any questions about the study, would like to discuss any aspect of it, or would like a questionnaire sent directly to them, please contact:
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175