Special Journal Issue: Climate Change Adaptation Needs a Science of Culture

Anne C. Pisor, J. Stephen Lansing, Kate Magargal (eds.)
Posted on: 9/26/2023 - Updated on: 9/26/2023

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The latest issue of Philosophical Transactions B looks at the solutions people use to deal with climate change, and how understanding these solutions enables better support to be provided to communities as they respond. 

Whether we’re facing job loss or extreme climate events, people use cultural solutions to manage risk. By studying the solutions people use to deal with climate change, researchers learn which solutions tend to emerge given different conditions—like local geography, structural constraints, or kinds of extreme event.

This theme issue brings together articles from prominent researchers to document what solutions communities have used, past and present; whether these solutions worked or not; and why. Understanding how climate change adaptation unfolds will help researchers, policymakers, and organizations better support communities as they respond.

Five Takeaway Messages:

  1. Climate change adaptation is cultural
  2. Culture evolves
  3. Constraints can stop local adaptation
  4. Mitigation and adaptation are often interconnected
  5. Not everything is adaptive

Articles in this Issue:

  • Introduction: Climate change adaptation needs a science of culture (open access, attached below)
  • Climate micro-mobilities as adaptation practice in the Pacific: the case of Samoa (open access, attached below)
  • The impacts of climate change, energy policy and traditional ecological practices on future firewood availability for Diné (Navajo) People (open access, attached below)
  • Socio-economic predictors of Inuit hunting choices and their implications for climate change adaptation (open access, attached below)
  • Small-scale farmer responses to the double exposure of climate change and market integration
  • Understanding constraints to adaptation using a community-centred toolkit
  • Operationalizing cultural adaptation to climate change: contemporary examples from United States agriculture
  • Adaptive irrigation management by Balinese farmers reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases rice yields
  • Minority-group incubators and majority-group reservoirs support the diffusion of climate change adaptations (open access, attached below)
  • Navigating polycrisis: long-run socio-cultural factors shape response to changing climate (open access, attached below)
  • Efficiency traps beyond the climate crisis: exploration–exploitation trade-offs and rebound effects (open access, attached below)
  • Climate change and long-term human behaviour in the Neotropics: an archaeological view from the Global South
  • Opinion piece: Climate change adaptation and the back of the invisible hand


Anne C. Pisor, J. Stephen Lansing and Kate Magargal (eds.). (2023). Climate change adaptation needs a science of culture. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 378 (1889). https://royalsocietypublishing.org/toc/rstb/2023/378/1889#d40296840e4561

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