Local vs. Expert Perception of Climate Change: An Analysis of Fishers in Trinidad and Tobago

April Karen Baptiste (Colgate University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 82
EISBN13: 9781466641204|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2842-7.ch003
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Local communities are known for having different and in some cases divergent perceptions of reality than experts. Particularly with respect to climate change, there is incongruence in the way that experts, namely scientists, view climate change and its effects and the way that this is perceived by laypersons, particularly those that are most impacted by climate change. But what are those differences and how exactly are these conceptualized? The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, it examines the differences among three stakeholders (scientists, policy makers, and fishers) in their view of climate change and its impacts, using the case study of the fishing industry in Trinidad and Tobago. These views are mapped using the mental model approach and then compared in order to determine the best way to address climate change within a local setting. There is a clear difference in the way fishers in this study view climate change from the way local scientists view it. There is, however, some overlap between the perspective of the fishers and that of the policy maker. Moving from a position that all perspectives are equally important if there is to be a meaningful response to climate change, this chapter develops a set of procedures for mapping community perceptions of climate change on to those of scientists and policy makers. The second and ultimate objective is to look at the implication that the mental modeling approach has for diffusion, adoption, and technology transfer in response to climate change.
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