Understanding Perceptions of Climate Change in South Carolina's Coastal Communities: An Approach Using Cultural Cognition and Deliberation
Parkinson, Lorna Marie
MetadataShow full item record
Despite growing scientific consensus on the causes, impacts and potential risks of climate change, public perceptions remain largely divided. Many areas will soon experience climate change impacts, but recent literature focuses on coastal communities due to sea level rise and storm activity that is already affecting property, infrastructure, social and economic activity, and ecosystems of these regions. South Carolina has eight coastal counties where residents are highly vulnerable to these hazards, and there is an urgent need to develop meaningful communication strategies and effective public processes that will stimulate community action in response. This study explored how residents of South Carolina’s coastal counties perceive impacts of climate change and how it relates to worldviews using cultural cognition. This study also used a deliberative democracy approach to developing adaptation plans and solutions. Residents of South Carolina’s coastal counties completed surveys and participated in small group deliberation. The results of this study indicated that cultural cognition affected perceptions of climate change in South Carolina’s coastal communities. Deliberation had success in forming consensus about climate change and planning strategies among participants. This process was facilitated by cognitive connections made by participants, which enhanced their understandings of climate change impacts.