Responding to John Urry’s call (in Climate Change and Society, 2011) to think about the implications of consumption and travel in the design of low carbon societies, this paper considers how the challenge to devise more localized forms of vacationing will impact Australian beach and beach cultures. Australian society is spatially concentrated on the coastal margins (75% live within 40kms of the coast and 25% live within 3kms), and yet, currently it is one of the highest consumers of vacationing based on flights to international locations, often to beach resorts. Current research on climate change and the beach is dominated by adaptation research, which models likely changes to geomorphology and built environments based on sea level rise. This has predicted an overall human retreat from the coast as a likely response; yet, this has not taken into account other important adaptations to climate change such as the localization of leisure and tourism. This paper argues that since Australians are unlikely to turn to their arid and agricultural interiors, it will be the coast that becomes a new and more intensive vacationing zone. Based on what we know of the previous era of mass beach consumption in the mid-twentieth century and what we know about contemporary Australian tourism and tourists, this paper identifies the likely dimensions and practices of beach cultures for a low-carbon Australia.
|Keywords:||Low Carbon Societies, Australian Beach and Coast, Localization of Vacationing, Tourism and Travel, Consumption|
Professor of Sociology, School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Lecturer in Sociology, School of Applied Media and Social Sciences, Monash University, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
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