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Assets and aspirations: Carbon management opportunities in remote indigenous communities

Stewart, Joanne (2016) Assets and aspirations: Carbon management opportunities in remote indigenous communities. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Two current pressing global challenges, climate change due to anthropogenic carbon emissions and poverty, are inextricably intertwined. In Australia these two issues are particularly pertinent. The nation is one of the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world, and despite being one of the most developed, the socio-economic disadvantage of its Indigenous peoples continues. This thesis provides a contribution to the dual fields of resilient and sustainable community development and climate change mitigation, with a sub-focus on asset-based assessment models for enabling community-directed low-carbon development in remote Indigenous communities.

The remaining socio-economic disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians has revealed a need for an alternative approach to the past policy incrementalism that focuses on issues and needs, and improved engagement with remote communities. Therefore, an asset-based model, the Resilient Community and Livelihood Asset Integration Model (ReCLAIM), with a focus on aspirations and a continuous participatory appraisal cycle was developed for application with a community Advisory Committee. The six-step decision support model was applied, via a series of workshops, with two remote Indigenous communities to assist their selection of goal-oriented carbon management strategies.

The application of the model identified the existing and aspirational assets of the communities, their current carbon emission profiles, the carbon management strategies they preferred for their settlement areas, the modelled outcomes and implementation plans. The carbon profiles and strategies selected differed between the two communities highlighting the need for a community-directed approach to understanding the drivers of carbon emissions, removals and mitigation responses. Economic benefits were highlighted with expected cost savings to communities and service providers. The model could be adapted to a variety of contexts including urban municipalities or remote villages in developing countries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
United Nations SDGs: Goal 1: No Poverty
Goal 13: Climate Action
Supervisor(s): Anda, Martin and Harper, Richard
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