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"It never rains in California": Constructions of drought as a natural and social phenomenon

Becker, Sarah ORCID: and Sparks, Paul 2020. "It never rains in California": Constructions of drought as a natural and social phenomenon. Weather and Climate Extremes 29 , 100257. 10.1016/j.wace.2020.100257

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In response to suggestions that, in the West, inaction on climate change is due to climate change's perceived temporal and spatial distance, we examine how people in California responded to the local influence of climate change in relation to the California drought in 2015. Between 2012 and 2016 California experienced an exceptionally severe drought resulting in a variety of social impacts. In this paper, we focus on how people experienced and understood drought (rather than on their views on the connection between anthropogenic climate change and drought). Seventy-one interviews were conducted during ten weeks of fieldwork in late 2015 with people in urban and rural areas of California. Five emerging themes are discussed: (1) conceptions of normality, (2) location (inside versus outside urban areas), (3) emotional responses, (4) understanding the drought as a social and political phenomenon, and (5) marginalised experiences of the drought. Examining perceptions of drought can enhance our understanding of how people react to climate change and the construction of proximity and personal relevance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2212-0947
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 15 April 2020
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 00:33

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