DDD Conference

Ms. Alix Pahaut

Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: Perceptions and Experience in an Arab Urban Locality in Israel

University of Haifa, Israel

Background: Situated in a climate hotspot, Middle East cities need to build climate resilience. Understanding population perceptions and existing adaptation can support appropriate preparedness action.

Aim: To analyze climate change experience, vulnerability, adaptation, and perceptions in Shefa-‘Amr (Shfaram).

Methods: online questionnaire and semi-structured focus groups with resident population.

Results: Questionnaire respondents (n = 482) represented the three local religions, 58.3% women, overrepresentation of higher education. 96.9% indicated they believe climate change is happening, 50.6% answered they were “very worried” about it. 47.7% responded that they experienced “some” negative health consequences from extreme heat. Respondents indicated high rates of willingness regarding preparedness actions like signing a petition (89.8%), planting trees (86.5%), or designing buildings to require less air-conditioning (83.8%); lower willingness to inquire about whether political candidates include climate preparedness in their agenda (65.6%); and much less willingness to sell or exchange land for local green spaces development (33.0%). Social resilience was not very high, 1.64 ± 0.49 (1 – 3 scale).

Focus groups (n = 9, 4-8 per group, total 52 participants) revealed: a contrast between traditional heat adaptation strategies and current reliance on air conditioning; lack of resilient urban infrastructure and inequality with neighboring Jewish municipalities; mixed attitudes towards preparedness, social resilience, and the municipality.

Conclusion: High levels of climate change awareness and concern were found, and willingness to take a range of actions. Focus groups revealed a more complex picture of social resilience. These findings can be used to engage with and advocate for the community in resilience building.


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