Climate Change Resilience

‘Communication is the sharing of created meaning; Conversation is the creation of shared meaning’

EcoSTEPS Director Carole Young has been undertaking a fascinating social research project based on over 30 case study interviews with Blue Mountains residents.

Carole believes that in a virtual world where leaps in communication technologies happen at lightning speed, the value of honest conversation in poorly appreciated and under-utilized by time-poor people. With this in mind, Carole set out to explore the shared meaning of reconciling climate change with our personal values in today’s world.

Read Carole Young's interviews with:

1 Richard Neville - Futurist & Author
2 Anne Elliot - Community Actionist, Slow Food & Cittaslow pioneer


We all know about the ‘sea changers’ and the ‘tree changers’. In the past few years concerns over climate change and unsustainable lifestyles have seen the emergence of the ‘me-changer’. Read these inspiring personal stories about a diverse group of Blue Mountains residents turning their concern about climate change into a catalyst for a more authentic and meaningful life.

The interviews explore how a fascinating cross-section of people are dealing with the cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges of climate change and unsustainable lifestyle. At a time when the future of humanity and the capacity of a healthy planet to sustain us are in question, decisions about raising children and leading meaningful lives cannot be taken lightly.

In Western societies, social commentators are identifying an emergent group of people called variously ‘Cultural Creatives’ (Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson), ‘Apocalyptic Activists’ (Richard Eckersley), ’The largest social movement in history’ (Paul Hawken), ‘Early Adopters’ (Change management theory), the ‘Committeds’ (DECC Social research) and ‘Downshifters’ (Clive Hamilton).

They are spread across age groups and social classes, their movement is non-hierarchical and does not have leaders and ideologies, and there is no manifesto or doctrine. What they share in common is a spiritual life, high concern about the environment, pro-sustainability values, and (for the majority) parenting. This group has been identified by trend watchers as very significant and influential, yet, to date, there has been little practical exploration of their values, compromises, lifestyle choices, education choices, concerns and successes. It is these issues, specifically with regard to dealing with fear of climate change, that these interviews explore. They uncover how a group of ordinary people are really managing with planning their futures in an uncertain world.

This is the first known work that focuses on a group who have a strong ‘sense of place’, within a World Heritage Listed area close to a global city, and are dealing with their fear of climate change and an uncertain future. The City of Blue Mountains area has been chosen because of the rich diversity and representation of ‘early adopters’ and ‘corporate refugees’ who have chosen to make changes in their lives, including those not removing themselves from contact with professional jobs and networks required to sustain them economically.


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