Engendering Climate Change, Reframing Futures in Oceania

Photo: Siobhan McDonnell

Research summary

The Pacific is often said to have contributed the least in carbon emissions but to have suffered the most from the pressing reality of climate change. It has been suggested that women are especially vulnerable given patterns of feminised poverty and their greater precarity in disasters. Climate change impacts are already jeopardising fresh water sources, subsistence food crops and fisheries, homes and livelihoods. In confronting these challenges, it is crucial to see the peoples of the Pacific not as victims but as engaged actors who are actively tackling climate change.

As part of this project we will undertake and support detailed ethnographic field work, collaborative research partnerships with organisations and researchers based in the Pacific, and artistic collaborations in the broad research areas of Gender and Climate Change.

In broad terms this Australian Research Council project is oriented around four themes: (1) everyday understandings of ‘climate change’ by people in towns and villages; (2) political processes around climate change awareness and international negotiations; (3) creative responses to climate change/activism including supporting artistic collaborations; (4) supporting climate change/disaster policy making (particularly in urban areas and on resettlement/land issues). In each of these themes we will explore how climate change is ‘gendered’ in particular ways.


Engendering Climate Change in Oceania: Fatalism, Resilience, Resistance CCI/GI Symposium, April 30, 2019, Australian National University.

Workshop on Gender and Climate Change conducted with research partner the Vanuatu Climate Action Network, May 28-29, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Siobhan McDonnell (2019) Other Dark Sides of Resilience: Politics and Power in Community-Based Efforts to Strengthen Resilience, Anthropological Forum, DOI: 10.1080/00664677.2019.1647828

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