Climate change, the Great Barrier Reef, and the response of Australians

Goldberg, Jeremy, Marshall, Nadine, Birtles, Alastair, Case, Peter, Bohensky, Erin, Curnock, Matt, Gooch, Margaret, Parry-Husbands, Howard, Pert, Petina, Tobin, Renae, Villani, Christopher, and Visperas, Bernard (2016) Climate change, the Great Barrier Reef, and the response of Australians. Palgrave Communications, 2. 15046. pp. 1-8.

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Inspiration, aspirations, attitudes, and perception of threats play a pivotal role in the way that individuals associate themselves with natural environments. These sentiments affect how people connect to natural places, including their behaviours, perceived responsibility, and the management interventions they support. World Heritage Areas hold an important place in the lives of people who visit, aspire to visit, or derive a sense of security and wellbeing from their existence. Yet, the connection between people and special places is rarely quantified and policymakers find it difficult to incorporate these human dimensions into decision-making processes. Here we describe the personal concern and connection that Australians have with the Great Barrier Reef and discuss how the results may help with its management. We utilise a statistically representative sample of Australian residents (n= 2,002) and show empirically that climate change is perceived to be the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, and that the Great Barrier Reef inspires Australians, promotes pride, and instills a sense of individual identity and collective responsibility to protect it. An increased understanding of the high levels of personal connection to iconic natural resources may help managers to enhance public support for protecting climate-sensitive systems within Australia and around the world.

Item ID: 42216
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2055-1045
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Funders: CSIRO Land and Water, National Environmental Research Program, James Cook University
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2016 04:26
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 25%
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350801 Impacts of tourism @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9098 Environmentally Sustainable Commercial Services and Tourism > 909802 Management of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Commercial Services and Tourism @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 75%
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