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Cultural pre-adaptation to climate change in a resilient region

Albrecht, G. (2009) Cultural pre-adaptation to climate change in a resilient region. In: NCCARF Climate Change Adaptation Symposium, 22 - 23 July, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

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The Cape to Cape region in south-west WA is a cultural, biodiversity and climate change hotspot that offers a potentially informative case study in the concept of cultural pre-adaptation to climate change. Despite the twin pressures of development and climate change, the region remains relatively resilient to internal and external shocks. It is also better positioned than most areas in Australia to make necessary transitions in the face of a warming and changing climate. This presentation will discuss the reasons why the Cape to Cape Bioregion can be seen as an exemplar of a resilient region where personal values, eco-entrepreneurial activity and community-driven conservation have delivered a diverse cultural and natural landscape, but one still reflective and respectful of regional distinctiveness. Human values sensitive to such diversity have perhaps unintentionally created a situation where some eco-entrepreneurial activities will be favoured under future change regimes while others will not. Activities favoured by the change process then become the basis of an ongoing resilient economy. In areas where monocultures of the mind and economy prevail, incapacity to deal with negative change will have devastating social and economic consequences. In addition to unintentional pre-adaptive capacity, some individuals within the region are anticipating change and are actively planning in ways they hope will prove advantageous in the face of perturbations. Individuals are intentionally experimenting with new approaches to emergent problems and this creativity, combined with sharing of results with multiple common interest groups, is increasing the resilience of the social-ecological system taken as a whole. The foundations of cultural preadaptation; unity- in-diversity, resilience, protection of ecosystem services and health and respect for endemism (regionality) have important relevance for other regions and the nation as a whole in the face of relentless climate change pressures.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
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