Embracing uncertainty: a discursive approach to understanding pathways for climate adaptation in Senegal

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Fox, Gino and Kniveton, Dominic, (2019). Embracing uncertainty: a discursive approach to understanding pathways for climate adaptation in Senegal. Regional Environmental Change, n/a-n/a

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja
    Fox, Gino
    Kniveton, Dominic
    Title Embracing uncertainty: a discursive approach to understanding pathways for climate adaptation in Senegal
    Appearing in Regional Environmental Change
    Publication Date 2019-04-17
    Place of Publication Berlin
    Publisher Springer Berlin Heidelberg
    Start page n/a
    End page n/a
    Language eng
    Abstract Climate change threatens to increase the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods. There are large uncertainties related to unknowns around the future and society’s responses to these threats. ‘Uncertainty’ as other words with the prefix ‘un’ (unknown, untold, unrest) often has negative connotations. Yet uncertainty is manifested in virtually everything we do. To many in science, uncertainty is akin to error that should be minimized, a lack of knowledge that needs to be rectified. We argue that uncertainty rather should be embraced as a starting point for discussing pathways to climate adaptation. Here we follow a definition of ‘pathways to adaptation’ as representing a set of proactive changes in the present that move people from a climatically unsafe place, to positions of safety (self defined as representing freedom from harm or adverse effect). This article applies an inter-discursive analytical approach where (un)certainty and (un)safety are used to deepen the understanding around the positions of people in Senegal, and their livelihoods, with respect to climate hazards. We examine the discursive socio-cultural values active in the climate adaptive space. Our findings show, that people’s adaptive decisions often were not based on climate information, but on discursive values and emotions that guided them in the direction of responses that felt right. We conclude that acknowledging different understandings and perceptions of uncertainty, and the goal of achieving safety, allows issues of power to be discussed. We contend that this process helps illuminate how to navigate pathways of adaptation to the impacts of climate variability and change.
    UNBIS Thesaurus CLIMATE CHANGE
    SENEGAL
    Keyword Discourse
    Family therapy
    Uncertainty
    Perceptions
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2019
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.1007/s10113-019-01495-7
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    Created: Tue, 14 May 2019, 22:14:46 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS