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Dr Jean S Renouf
Southern Cross University

While the science is clear about the challenges associated with the climate and ecological crises (IPCC 2014, IPCC 2018, IPCC 2019a, IPCC 2019b, IPBES 2019), it remains difficult to fully comprehend the extent of which climate change is having on the planet, and by extension, on one’s life. Explanations for this cognitive dissonance range from psychological and cognitive barriers, to social, political and economic impediments (Pahl et al. 2014; Rogers 2018). My presentation shares the findings of the two first phases of a research project titled ‘Living safely in a world of climate change’, which is a mixed methods research that aims to understand the personal adaptation and mitigation strategies of climate scientists and climate change experts. In particular, the research asks in which ways climate change affects or could be affecting them and their (grand-)children and what measures they personally implement in light of it. Framed by a pragmatist theoretical approach, the research is based on qualitative interviews and a quantitative online survey. The research finds that climate scientists and climate change experts hold grave concerns for the planet, for themselves and their descendants, but are also somewhat hopeful, in particular thanks to the current social changes and the rapid development of new technologies. They are also active when it comes to reducing their greenhouse gas footprint but hold strong disagreeing views on some aspects (such as air travels). In terms of adapting to the impacts of climate change, practices vary from not taking any action at all to relocating their whole family to locations perceived as safer.

Dr Jean S. Renouf is an academic, a professional firefighter and a dad. Prior to becoming a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Southern Cross University, he worked as an international aid worker and a researcher in war zones and natural disasters. All of this informs his interest for climate change and ethical approaches to security.


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