Perception of vulnerability relating to sea level rise and climate change in island communities : insights from Hawaiʻi

Larin, Penny Nicole
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
Almost 700 residents from four coastal communities on the islands of Maui and O'ahu, Hawaiʻi completed surveys that examined their perceptions, knowledge, and attitude towards climate change and sea level rise. Overall, perceptions did not vary with geographic location or socioeconomic status, but reflected residents' perceptions of personal vulnerability to sea level rise. Residents who felt they were vulnerable to sea level rise had different perceptions from those who did not feel vulnerable. Those who felt that the threat to their home was in the near future (0-30 years) had different perceptions than those who felt the threat was longer term (40+ years). Perceived vulnerability was not significantly correlated with measures of individuals' physical exposure to sea level rise and is anticipated to be a complex variable, worthy of further study. Personal perception of vulnerability only touches the surface of understanding motivations, beliefs, and other factors that may influence change in adaptive behaviors and facilitate actions to implement protective measures. Community leaders addressing or implementing adaptation or mitigation policies should provide information and resources that raise people's level of personal perceived vulnerability to sea level rise to a realistic and accurate level and strengthening community resilience.
M.S. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
climate change, sea level rise, risk perception
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