Is culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place the values most vulnerable to climate change?
A few years ago, a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change1 suggested the possibility that culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place are the values most vulnerable in a changing climate.
In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE2 researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Lund University have tested this possibility among owners of property in Höganäs municipality, Sweden.
In the paper, a new method for elicitation of respondents' values is presented. The valuation tool is the first to follow the recommendation by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to distinguish goals (true values) from means. The paper in PLOS ONE shows that culture, identity, community cohesion, and sense of place are important to the respondents, but respondents holding these values are not less prepared to reduce vulnerability than other respondents. Locations representing culture, identity, community cohesion, and sense of place are, furthermore, not more often found in areas of high probability of flooding from climate change induced sea level rise according to the flooding model used in the study. In the paper in PLOS ONE, the authors conclude that their results do not corroborate the possibility suggested that culture, identity, community cohesion, and sense of place are the values most vulnerable in a changing climate, at least not among property owners in Höganäs municipality.
The study was conducted in collaboration between the projects Rising sea level - planning and design of a landscape in transition by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), Science and Proven Experience by the Swedish Foundation for Humanties and Social Sciences, and Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability.