An Exploration of Climate Change Awareness Amongst Coastal Residents in Jamaica

Authors: Aron Gayle*, Church Teachers' College
Topics: Environmental Perception, Coastal and Marine, Human Rights
Keywords: Climate Change, Perception, Awareness, Adaptation, Jamaica
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download

The issue of climate change has been a growing concern in Jamaica. Satellite imageries show that many coastal communities across the southern belt of the island are experiencing the phenomenon of sea level rise and as such, coastal flooding and erosion are threats to them and their livelihoods. Familiarity with these effects encourages public engagement and effective adaptation that will limit negative impacts and facilitate positive changes (Whitmarsh, 2017). This research can be considered a platform for a needs assessment study since it highlights the gap in awareness. The perception of the population on the issue of climate change is vital, as it will give policy makers an understanding of the general view of the public, the extent to which public education needs to be heightened, and the intervention that needs to be employed. The purpose of this study was to explore climate change awareness amongst coastal residents in Jamaica by examining their views and factors influencing such perceptions. The methodology was of a qualitative nature, where the semi-structured interview was the main data collection tool. It was found out that the respondents are aware of climate change, but possessed little knowledge about its causes and how they have contributed to the issue on an individual level. They have seen increases in temperatures in recent times, reduced rainfall, rising sea levels and coastal flooding. Amidst these observations, the adaptation efforts on their part as well as the government's are rudimentary and therefore require more serious attention.

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