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Does awareness of climate change lead to worry? exploring community perceptions through parallel analysis in rural himalaya

Ritodhi Chakraborty, Anne Sophie Daloz, Manish Kumar, A.P. Dimri

Human dimensions of climate change (HDCC) research overwhelmingly presents community perspectives on climate change and its impacts through single epistemic frameworks. This limits the possible platforms that community voices can access within scientific scholarship. Many HDCC interdisciplinary collaborations pursue the goal of data triangulation and attempt to address complex social–ecological problems through analytical integration. This raises questions about the comparative validity of different epistemologies and often leads to unequal power sharing between the different disciplinary practitioners. Our research addresses both of these issues by operationalizing a plural epistemological framework that depends on parallel analysis. This framework consists of a quantitative approach, inspired by hazards theory and land-change science research, and a qualitative approach, from political ecology. We explored perceptions of climate change in rural households in Uttarakhand in the Indian Himalayan region. While the results reveal a high awareness of climate change within the community, most individuals and households do not consider the impacts of climate change to be a significant worry. The results for each approach complement each other. They provide the community with more than one platform to voice their experiences and reveal the complex relationships producing climate change knowledge in the region. Future research should attempt such parallel analysis in other locations to validate its utility in addressing issues of equity and marginalization between research epistemologies, as well as between experts and local communities.

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