Climate Change, Resilience and Transformation: Challenges and Opportunities for Local Communities

  • Edwards T
  • Wiseman J
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While climate change is clearly a global emergency requiring global solutions, there is increasing understanding of the diverse challenges and opportunities that local communities face in strengthening resilience to its impacts and implications. Evidence is also growing about the crucial contribution that local actions and networks can make in strengthening community resilience – and in driving the broader social and political transformations needed to prevent catastrophic climate change in ways that are ecologically healthy, just and democratic. This chapter has two aims. The first aim is to bring together recent evidence and learning about the characteristics that strengthen community resilience to the threats and challenges of climate change. The second aim is to explore the links between the theory and practice of resilience and the actions needed for communities to adapt to climate change already being experienced and enable pathways to reduce the risks of catastrophic climate change – locally and globally. The core argument of the chapter can be summarised in the following way. Community resilience to climate change requires strengthening the overall foundations of resilient communities, augmented by locally relevant, locally tailored actions to improve local climate change adaptation capabilities and outcomes. However, given that the capacity of any local community to adapt to climate change is limited, strengthening community resilience to climate change will also require transformative action leading to the rapid and equitable reduction of carbon emissions and the drawing down of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This crucial journey from paralysis and fear to hope and transformation requires a well-informed understanding of the perilous path we are on; compelling visions of an alternative, desirable future; a shared belief that transformation is possible; and clear plans and pathways – all critical components of truly resilient communities and societies.




Edwards, T., & Wiseman, J. (2011). Climate Change, Resilience and Transformation: Challenges and Opportunities for Local Communities (pp. 185–200).

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