The University of Arizona

Danielle Johnson | CLIMAS

Fellow, Climate Assessment for the Southwest

Danielle Johnson is a 2016 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program.

Title: Investigating Climate Change, Marginalization and Inequality in the Kaipara Catchment of Aotearoa New Zealand

Abstract: Residents of New Zealand’s Kaipara Catchment - a rural, coastal region that has experienced severe environmental degradation - have among the lowest income and fewest resources and opportunities in the nation. Climate change is expected to bring increased tropical storm, flood and drought events to the Kaipara, and concerns are mounting over threats to already diminished livelihoods, food security, and cultural wellbeing. Despite these concerns, no research has been conducted into the impact of climate change on communities in the area. This presents barriers for organizations such as the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group (IKHMG) who wish to develop locally appropriate and informed climate adaptation plans. With the help of the CLIMAS Fellowship, I will conduct ethnographic research with two communities in the Kaipara that explores residents’ perceptions of climate change. My focus will be on understanding the how people’s visions of climate-related vulnerabilities, risks and opportunities interface with issues of regional deprivation, inequality and marginalization. On completion of the research I will produce a summary document for the IKHMG that discusses community concerns, priorities and aspirations which will assist the IKHMG in creating a grounded and equitable climate adaptation framework for the region.