Perceptions of climate change among local communities in India

HALDER P, SHARMA R, ALAM A. 2012. Local perceptions of and responses to climate change – experiences from the natural resource dependent communities in India. Regional Environmental Change. DOI 10.1007/s10113-012-0281-x.

India is considerably vulnerable in the events of climate change impacts. Vulnerability and adaptive capacity among the population varies quite a lot in a country like India. This paper investigated local communities’ perceptions of and responses to the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. The study employed village-level participatory qualitative research methods in three geo-cultural zones of the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. It revealed that the local communities in those places had already visualized the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods and surrounding natural resources. Their observations corresponded to the broader scientific projections of the impacts of climate change in India. The study found that the local communities had started to adapt with the changing climate by altering their livelihoods and cultural practices. The study recommends urgent need of identifying the vulnerable communities in India and assessing their vulnerability from different perspectives that climate change might expose in the future. It also recommends implementing the present pro-poor policies of the government in an effective way to improve the socio-economic conditions of the poor and vulnerable communities in the country.

Keywords: Climate change; Community perceptions;Vulnerability;India


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