Social implications of Climate Change Professor Margaret Alston, OAM Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) ...
Summary <ul><li>Introducing social impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Why are social factors important? </li></ul><ul><li>About the...
Dominance of economic and environmental perspectives in policy  Boil over in M-DB
There are people and communities at the end of the policy line
Underplaying social impacts can lead to significant political/policy consequences
<ul><li>‘ Institutional miscreancy’  - or lazy politics </li></ul><ul><li>Policy constructed without due attention to the ...
Rural restructuring not new <ul><li>Ongoing restructuring </li></ul><ul><li>Population shifts and declines </li></ul><ul><...
Why social factors are important <ul><li>Environmental stewardship </li></ul><ul><li>People are dealing with climate chang...
<ul><li>Rural people have not been successful in capturing public attention / imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Room for movem...
But all acknowledge the pivotal role that agriculture must play to feed the world into the future <ul><li>No other industr...
<ul><li>And yet at the heart of agriculture is the family farm and rural communities </li></ul><ul><li>These must be nurtu...
Australian studies  <ul><li>Several years and across Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Social impacts of drought 2003-4 </li></u...
International studies India - FAO Africa – UN-Habitat Pacific - UNESCO Bangladesh March 2011 - Oxfam
Australia’s  Rural places <ul><li>16% of Australians in inland agricultural regions </li></ul><ul><li>Divergent trends </l...
Climate change trends <ul><li>Rising temperatures, climate variability, cyclones, rainfall variations, erosion, storm surg...
Incremental - Drought – up to 10 years
January 2011 floods
Diversity of  people affected <ul><li>People affected feel disenfranchised from policy </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous people...
Socio-economic factors <ul><li>Farm families dominate agricultural production </li></ul><ul><li>Bigger than family farms i...
<ul><li>Significance of off-farm income for the bulk of farm families – has gendered consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Volunt...
Socio-economic factors <ul><li>Rural over-represented in lower SEIFA </li></ul><ul><li>High levels of rural poverty </li><...
Social Adaptations  <ul><ul><li>generating income off-farm to ensure the family can remain in farming; </li></ul></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>Resistance to exit packages </li></ul>
Positive adaptations <ul><li>Leasing in peri-urban to increase productive capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Changing production <...
Positive adaptations to rural disasters <ul><li>Community cohesion </li></ul><ul><li>Responsiveness of emergency services ...
Rural Services <ul><li>Poor transport and telecommunications </li></ul><ul><li>Basic health services often lacking </li></...
Climate change impacts <ul><li>Further destabilisation </li></ul><ul><li>Rise in number of weather related events </li></u...
Service providers <ul><li>Stretched </li></ul><ul><li>Under-resourced </li></ul><ul><li>High case loads </li></ul><ul><li>...
Policy shortcomings <ul><li>MDB guide a catalyst to simmering anger </li></ul><ul><li>Top-down policy </li></ul><ul><li>Pe...
Policy shortcomings <ul><li>Benign neglect and active exploitation  (Molnar 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of attention to ‘...
Resilience  <ul><li>Ability to respond to adversity in positive ways </li></ul><ul><li>Failure of metagovernance is harmin...
Vision for rural Australia <ul><li>CC social impacts addressed </li></ul><ul><li>Citizenship rights acknowledged </li></ul...
Immediate policies <ul><li>Access to Youth Allowance </li></ul><ul><li>Access to health and welfare services </li></ul><ul...
Medium term policies <ul><li>Local governments funded to form social inclusion committees, employ community development wo...
Long-term policy <ul><li>a vision for rural and remote areas; </li></ul><ul><li>an assessment of the areas, communities, s...
<ul><li>thick and comprehensive human services and supported environments for human service workers; </li></ul><ul><li>a c...
<ul><li>a fund that provides investment into rural communities to establish new directions for change;  </li></ul><ul><li>...
Partnerships <ul><li>Governments, farming organisations, women’s organisations, community groups, businesses, farm familie...
Conclusion <ul><li>Climate change has exposed deficiencies in attention to the social </li></ul><ul><li>Rural people expec...
Take home message <ul><li>CC has significant social consequences for rural women and men </li></ul><ul><li>The old and the...
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Social implications of climate change - Margaret Alston

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Social implications of climate change - Margaret Alston

  1. 1. Social implications of Climate Change Professor Margaret Alston, OAM Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) Monash University Melbourne
  2. 2. Summary <ul><li>Introducing social impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Why are social factors important? </li></ul><ul><li>About the social relations of agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Socio-economic factors </li></ul><ul><li>Service providers </li></ul><ul><li>Policy shortcomings </li></ul><ul><li>Current adaptations </li></ul><ul><li>A vision for a more positive future </li></ul>
  3. 3. Dominance of economic and environmental perspectives in policy Boil over in M-DB
  4. 4. There are people and communities at the end of the policy line
  5. 5. Underplaying social impacts can lead to significant political/policy consequences
  6. 6. <ul><li>‘ Institutional miscreancy’ - or lazy politics </li></ul><ul><li>Policy constructed without due attention to the social - > ongoing benign neglect of rural people and places </li></ul><ul><li>Implicit expectation that rural will absorb the burden of CC actions unrealistic and unfair </li></ul><ul><li>(quoting Molnar 2010) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Rural restructuring not new <ul><li>Ongoing restructuring </li></ul><ul><li>Population shifts and declines </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term service infrastructure erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Climate uncertainties adding to rapid change </li></ul><ul><li>Policy responses must address long-standing issues as well as current uncertainties </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why social factors are important <ul><li>Environmental stewardship </li></ul><ul><li>People are dealing with climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Biosecurity </li></ul><ul><li>Citizenship rights </li></ul><ul><li>Human capital depletion </li></ul><ul><li>Rural people need certainty </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Rural people have not been successful in capturing public attention / imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Room for movement between farming organisations and environmental activists </li></ul>
  10. 10. But all acknowledge the pivotal role that agriculture must play to feed the world into the future <ul><li>No other industry sector is subject to such vagaries and variances of production conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Food security is now a real issue confronting countries around the world </li></ul><ul><li>This is driving a nationalistic approach to farm ownership, we see countries such as China and the Arab countries actively acquiring large farming enterprises in Australia </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>And yet at the heart of agriculture is the family farm and rural communities </li></ul><ul><li>These must be nurtured </li></ul>
  12. 12. Australian studies <ul><li>Several years and across Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Social impacts of drought 2003-4 </li></ul><ul><li>Rural women’s access to services study - 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of drought on rural and remote young people’s access to education 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Rural maternity services study 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Declining water availability M-DB 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Declining water in Murray River communities 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Rural women and CC 2009/10 </li></ul>
  13. 13. International studies India - FAO Africa – UN-Habitat Pacific - UNESCO Bangladesh March 2011 - Oxfam
  14. 14. Australia’s Rural places <ul><li>16% of Australians in inland agricultural regions </li></ul><ul><li>Divergent trends </li></ul><ul><li>Remote – bigger farms, declining populations and services </li></ul><ul><li>Peri-urban growth – well-serviced communities, resources, off-farm income, cultural clashes </li></ul>
  15. 15. Climate change trends <ul><li>Rising temperatures, climate variability, cyclones, rainfall variations, erosion, storm surges, bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Incremental – drought </li></ul><ul><li>Cataclysmic – bushfires, floods </li></ul>
  16. 16. Incremental - Drought – up to 10 years
  17. 17. January 2011 floods
  18. 18. Diversity of people affected <ul><li>People affected feel disenfranchised from policy </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous people – Boomanulla statement </li></ul>
  19. 19. Socio-economic factors <ul><li>Farm families dominate agricultural production </li></ul><ul><li>Bigger than family farms in remote – issues for families / workers / communities </li></ul><ul><li>Issues with remote education and services </li></ul><ul><li>Peri-urban – rich growth, cultural factors </li></ul><ul><li>Bulk of family farms fall between </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Significance of off-farm income for the bulk of farm families – has gendered consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer work declining </li></ul><ul><li>Decline in numbers of young people from rural areas accessing higher education </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of workers – loss of teachers etc </li></ul>
  21. 21. Socio-economic factors <ul><li>Rural over-represented in lower SEIFA </li></ul><ul><li>High levels of rural poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Out-migration </li></ul><ul><li>Remote communities – masculinised </li></ul><ul><li>Higher unemployment </li></ul><ul><li>Poorer health </li></ul><ul><li>Lower levels of education </li></ul><ul><li>Higher levels of ageing </li></ul><ul><li>Poorer service infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Greater proportion of Indigenous people in more remote communities </li></ul><ul><li>Drift of welfare dependent people </li></ul><ul><li>The more remote the greater the levels of social exclusion </li></ul>
  22. 22. Social Adaptations <ul><ul><li>generating income off-farm to ensure the family can remain in farming; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>men working in isolation while their families live and work away; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reduced attention to health care; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rising levels of mental health and stress but a lack of help-seeking behaviour; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>alcohol and drugs being used for self-medication for stress; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>young people leaving for a future elsewhere; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>young people dropping out of school; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>small business closures or reduction / casualisation of employees; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>small businesses operating as quasi-banks; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>gender implications leading to differential experiences for men and women </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Resistance to exit packages </li></ul>
  24. 24. Positive adaptations <ul><li>Leasing in peri-urban to increase productive capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Changing production </li></ul><ul><li>Water efficiencies </li></ul><ul><li>‘ children’ returning in their 30s+ </li></ul>
  25. 25. Positive adaptations to rural disasters <ul><li>Community cohesion </li></ul><ul><li>Responsiveness of emergency services </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread community giving </li></ul>Lifeline community care tee-shirt
  26. 26. Rural Services <ul><li>Poor transport and telecommunications </li></ul><ul><li>Basic health services often lacking </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health services poor </li></ul>
  27. 27. Climate change impacts <ul><li>Further destabilisation </li></ul><ul><li>Rise in number of weather related events </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of certainty in production </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived government inaction </li></ul><ul><li>Disaffection and alienation </li></ul><ul><li>Unpredictability of climate events – declining resilience </li></ul>
  28. 28. Service providers <ul><li>Stretched </li></ul><ul><li>Under-resourced </li></ul><ul><li>High case loads </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive geographical areas </li></ul><ul><li>Administered from regional areas </li></ul><ul><li>Charities bearing larger than normal burden </li></ul><ul><li>Innovative service delivery – evident and provides valuable learning </li></ul><ul><li>Workers report – low mood of communities, high levels of suicide, self-medication, effects on children </li></ul>
  29. 29. Policy shortcomings <ul><li>MDB guide a catalyst to simmering anger </li></ul><ul><li>Top-down policy </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived lack of community consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Market driven </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of understanding of rural culture </li></ul><ul><li>Rural policy equated with agricultural policy problematic! </li></ul>
  30. 30. Policy shortcomings <ul><li>Benign neglect and active exploitation (Molnar 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of attention to ‘place-shaping’ (Shucksmith 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Sectoral rather than territorial basis to policy </li></ul><ul><li>Ignores multifunctionality </li></ul>
  31. 31. Resilience <ul><li>Ability to respond to adversity in positive ways </li></ul><ul><li>Failure of metagovernance is harming resilience of rural people </li></ul><ul><li>Need to ‘bring government back in’ (Bell and Quiggin 2008) to work in partnership </li></ul><ul><li>goal setting, coordination, information exchange, risk management and resourcing </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive partnerships such as Landcare </li></ul>
  32. 32. Vision for rural Australia <ul><li>CC social impacts addressed </li></ul><ul><li>Citizenship rights acknowledged </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental, economic and social factors acknowledged as equally important </li></ul><ul><li>Resilience enhanced </li></ul><ul><li>Need for dedicated research to develop informed understanding of current and potential social impacts of CC </li></ul>
  33. 33. Immediate policies <ul><li>Access to Youth Allowance </li></ul><ul><li>Access to health and welfare services </li></ul><ul><li>Transport and infrastructure </li></ul>
  34. 34. Medium term policies <ul><li>Local governments funded to form social inclusion committees, employ community development workers, develop plans on future viability, potential areas of growth and human and social capital needs </li></ul>
  35. 35. Long-term policy <ul><li>a vision for rural and remote areas; </li></ul><ul><li>an assessment of the areas, communities, services and commodities that have long-term viability and those that do not; </li></ul><ul><li>a vision that acknowledges diversity in agriculture, small business and rural communities; </li></ul><ul><li>a vision that prioritises people; </li></ul><ul><li>a vision that enhances resilience, family well-being and community capacity; </li></ul><ul><li>social inclusion strategies; </li></ul><ul><li>new models of governance characterised by inclusive partnerships between governments, non-government organisations and the private sector; </li></ul><ul><li>greater community participation in policy and place shaping, and an acknowledgement that rural people are experts in their own lives; </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>thick and comprehensive human services and supported environments for human service workers; </li></ul><ul><li>a commitment to rural people and communities through a vision for transition and change; </li></ul><ul><li>the supports - financial, services and infrastructure - that will be needed to assist people to informed choices about their futures; </li></ul><ul><li>a plan for the future of rural and remote areas; </li></ul><ul><li>an acknowledgement that the people in these communities cannot address the future unaided because of uncertainty; </li></ul><ul><li>an investment in human capital so that people in rural areas can achieve their potential and access education / retraining to achieve their ambitions; </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>a fund that provides investment into rural communities to establish new directions for change; </li></ul><ul><li>a social taskforce to be established to oversee the vision, the investment in rural people and communities and the change management process; and </li></ul><ul><li>the establishment of a new, well-funded model of Human Services practice that values and builds rural community capacity and acknowledges and values voluntary contributions through workforce practices. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Partnerships <ul><li>Governments, farming organisations, women’s organisations, community groups, businesses, farm families and individuals </li></ul>
  39. 39. Conclusion <ul><li>Climate change has exposed deficiencies in attention to the social </li></ul><ul><li>Rural people expect no more than their citizenship rights </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability of our landscapes is dependent on resilient people and places </li></ul><ul><li>Greater certainty through visionary policy and partnerships needed </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancement of positive adaptations critical </li></ul>
  40. 40. Take home message <ul><li>CC has significant social consequences for rural women and men </li></ul><ul><li>The old and the young are affected </li></ul><ul><li>Social impacts are deeply spiritual </li></ul><ul><li>Policy must acknowledge there are people at the end of the policy line ….. </li></ul>

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