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An exploration of climax thinking on social acceptance of sustainable transitions in coastal regions

Boekbijdrage - Boekabstract Conferentiebijdrage

Global and local environmental problems (e.g., climate change, biodiversity loss) require urgent sustainable transitions in coastal regions, in which marine-based societies and economic opportunities are future-proofed and developed in harmony with nature. However, local opposition to projects that are necessary for a sustainable transition can be strong. This opposition is often explained by place attachment, whereby individuals form an emotional bond with the places they inhabit or visit frequently, and those with a stronger attachment will be more likely to oppose projects (Devine-Wright, 2009). As an alternative theory to place attachment, ‘climax thinking’ suggests that communities oppose to projects in their locality because individuals regard their current landscapes as ideal and should therefore remain as they are. The concept is hypothesised to be driven by ignorance or exceptionalism along temporal (past vs. future) and spatial (self vs. other) dimensions (Sherren, 2021). In this exploratory study, we examine how climax thinking is associated with related constructs, such as place attachment and values (including openness to change), and how these (together) predict the acceptance of and support for a sustainable transition at the Belgian coast. Regarding climax thinking, we particularly focus on people’s perceptions of place through time (temporal dimension) and at different geographical levels (spatial dimension). We surveyed both residents of the Belgian coast and the wider public to investigate potential differences between residents and visitors. Implications of the results for sustainable transitions in coastal regions and future research are discussed.
Boek: International Conference on Environmental Psychology (ICEP 2023), Abstracts
Aantal pagina's: 1
Jaar van publicatie:2023