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Local perceptions in climate change debates: insights from case studies in the Alps and the Andes

Jurt, Christine, Burga, Maria Dulce, Vicuña, Luis, Huggel, Christian, Orlove, Ben
Climatic change 2015 v.133 no.3 pp. 511-523
case studies, climate change, glaciers, scientists, Alps region, Andes region, Italy, Peru
The importance of integrating local perspectives into international debates about climate change has received increasing attention. Local perspectives on the impacts of climate change often focus on issues of loss and harm and support the widely recognized need for global responses to climate change as suggested by scientists and international institutions. Here we argue that local perspectives need to be addressed not only from outside communities but also from inside in order to understand people’s responses to climate change: their concerns, their understanding of themselves as members of particular groups and their position in the world, their view on responsibilities for causing climate change, and their perceptions of possible responses. The ethnographic work at two study sites, one in Carhuaz, Cordillera Blanca, Peru, and one in Stilfs, South Tyrolean Alps, Italy, identifies dominant perceptions on climate change at each site with a particular focus on glacier retreat. The case studies show that the view on the need for global action as response to climate change is not necessarily shared throughout the world, and thus presents a challenge to global collaboration.