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In order for people to act in relation to climate change they need to make sense of it. For
societies across the world climate change is a relatively new phenomenon. We are witnessing the early development of societal sense-making; the social construction of meaning.
Multiple nuclei of meaning form are supported and grow into identifiable patterns, die out or remain peripheral through lack of social support. How the emerging patterns of meaning
unfold has important implications for how and when society responds to climate change.
Using a new approach to the collection and analysis of narrative, Lynam highlighted the rich insights on different social understandings of climate change and social
adaptation to climate change.
Lynam presented emerging patterns in social understanding of climate change as well as patterns in orientations to adaptation. These patterns also reveal characteristics of the social groups identified from these patterns.
He concluded with reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the approach for making sense of phenomena such as climate change.
About Tim Lynam
Tim Lynam is a senior research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). He is currently working on the social dimensions of adaptation to climate change as well as how society comes to understand climate change and why society has such difficulty solving sit.
Lynam has been leading the mental models working group of the Resilience Alliance for the past four years. This group focuses on understanding the relationships between sense of identity, sense of place and earth stewardship.
Lynam is also leading a new working group on grounding resilience in practice which seeks to get resilience theory grounded in everyday practice and learn from what practitioners have achieved.