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Article

Perspectives of climate change: A comparison of scientific understanding and local interpretations by different Western Siberian communities

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment. 2021. Vol. 50. No. 11. P. 2072-2089.
Rakhmanova L., Kolesnichenko L., Kuzhevskaya I., Shaduyko O.

We present a study of social effects of climate change as experienced by local communities, based on field research and analysis in Western Siberia, from southern taiga to tundra. The results of field anthropological research reveal different attitudes of local residents to climate change. We compare the key trends of climate change with the perspectives of local residents, based on memories, subjective experiences, and local environmental knowledge. Our results highlight a significant divergence of the subjective assessments of residents from objective data on the dynamics of changes in certain environmental elements. We explore how the human subjective perception of natural processes, their consequences and impacts, are influenced by such factors as: type of settlement, age, gender, level of education and how collective stereotypes and judgments merge information in attitude formation. We also address the need to reconcile observed climate change impacts and perceptions to enable decision-makers to engage more constructively with the local population to develop and implement adaptation.