Warruwi women show capacity to adapt to climate change


CDU's Dr Natasha Stacey contributed to a report on the Warruwi women's preferred climate change adaptation strategies, which included community-based aquaculture development

A report on a remote Arnhem Land community’s preferred adaptation strategies to climate change has been included in a portfolio that will be presented at Parliament House in Canberra tomorrow.

The portfolio includes reports and findings of more than 140 collaborative projects published by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Titled ‘Indigenous women’s preferences for climate change adaptation and aquaculture development to build capacity in the Northern Territory’, the report involved action research, conversations and workshops with Indigenous women of the remote South Goulburn Island community of Warruwi.

Lead author Dr Lisa Petheram, formerly of Charles Darwin University’s Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL), said the report focused on investigating the community’s resilience and resolve in the face of impending climate change.

“We asked the Warruwi women what they knew about climate change and their understandings of it,” Dr Petheram said.

“Then we talked about ways they think climate change might impact their communities and ways they might want to adapt to that change.”

Dr Petheram enlisted a range of participatory and visual techniques, which included board games, videos and iBooks.

“We used participatory and visual techniques to help engage the women and also to encourage visualisation of the future among the women,” she said.

“It was a good way to get the women to reflect on issues in a different way than they were used to, which was very pertinent for the research.”

Co-author and RIEL academic Dr Natasha Stacey said the research found that the women of Warruwi preferred the development of aquaculture in the region, especially to farm oysters, sea cucumbers and giant clams.

“Low-tech community-based aquaculture development may help adaptation to climate change by expanding livelihood options and enhancing collection and local consumption of bush foods,” Dr
Stacey said.

“This research [also] highlights the need for greater recognition and incorporation of Indigenous worldviews in viewing the future and planning for climate change adaptation.”

The report was written by Dr Lisa Petheram (Australian National University), Dr Natasha Stacey (CDU RIEL), Ann Fleming (NT Government) and Anne Perry of the Warruwi Community Development Employment Project.

Full report:  www.nccarf.edu.au

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