The Lived Experience of Climate Change: Complementing the Natural and Social Sciences for Knowledge, Policy and Action

By Dina Abbott and Gordon Wilson.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores the concept of ‘lived experience of climate change’, the complementary challenge it poses to scientific (natural and social science) knowledge, its potential to inform policy, and the methodological challenges of capturing it. We conceptualise lived experience of climate change as evolving knowledge gained over time by individuals and groups through their everyday practices, practices that are in turn framed by proximate impacts of climate-related processes and events, and by broader socio-economic circumstance. The potential of lived experience to complement the sciences and inform policy poses difficult epistemological questions regarding how climate change knowledge is constructed and used. A key further dimension concerns the challenges that confront those who seek to capture it and its integrated, multi-faceted dimensions.

Keywords: Climate Change, Natural and Social Science Knowledges, Lived Experience, Action Research

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.99-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.052MB).

Prof. Dina Abbott

School of Geographical Sciences, University of Derby, UK

Dina Abbott is a Professor of Development Geography at the University of Derby, with responsibility for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for Geography and Development Studies. She is also the Co-Head of the Physical and Human Environments Research Group. In addition, Dina has acted as an associated lecturer, consultant and a moderator for several Open University (UK) distance and virtual learning activities. She has also authored several journal and book articles on philosophies of methodologies, geographical fieldwork and urban gendered poverty within the African and Indian context. Dina is also on the Editorial Board of the online African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology.

Prof. Gordon Wilson

Professor of Environment and Development, Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK

Gordon Wilson is currently the coordinator of the European Union Erasmus project: “The Lived Experience of Climate Change: E-learning and Virtual Mobility.” This project is a partnership of 9 institutions across six EU countries, developing Master’s curriculum on climate change that ultimately will become an open educational resource. Previously, he was the Director of inter-faculty curriculum in Environment, Development and International Studies at the Open University in the United Kingdom, covering three undergraduate courses and three Master’s courses. He has also chaired several Open University courses in environment and development from undergraduate to postgraduate levels. His research interests concern the roles of stakeholders in collective knowledge construction in environment and development practice. He has undertaken research in Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Algeria. He has published extensively in academic journals and is an author of book chapters. Most recently, he was senior editor of Environment, Development and Sustainability: Perspectives and Cases from Around the World (Oxford University Press) and co-author of Learning for Development (Zed Books).

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