Population and the environment abstracts

Population change, environment and resource change – Monday 7 September – 4.45pm 

Session organiser: Alan Marshall, University of St. Andrews 

Believing, belonging and behaving: Exploring the mismatch between climate change perceptions and individual mitigation behaviours across 27 European countries
Raya Muttarak, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW and WU), Vienna Institute of Demography

Individual behaviour is key to CO2 emission reduction. Despite increased awareness of climate change, climate-related beliefs do not always translate into actions. This study aims to explain the mismatch between beliefs and behaviours by investigating the role of individual socio-demographic, meso and macro level factors across countries and over time. The study employs a novel 3Bs framework –believing, belonging, behaving– originally developed to analyse religiosity in sociology to identify underlying drivers of climate-related actions at micro, meso- and macro-levels. According to the 3Bs framework, individual socio-demographic characteristics influence internal attributes e.g., values, knowledge and climate risk perceptions (Believing), which can trigger behavioural responses (Behaving). Similarly, external factors e.g., the institutional and cultural conditions of a social group, community and country where people belong (Belonging) mediate attitudes and behaviours. The empirical analysis is based on the Eurobarometer surveys for the years 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013 (Modules 69.2, 72.1, 75.4 and 80.2, respectively) covering over 100,000 respondents in 27 member countries of the European Union. Preliminary results show that women and the highly educated express greater concern about climate change and are more likely to undertake personal actions to mitigate climate change. The public concern about climate change however has decline, especially in the period after the 2008 financial crisis. There is substantial geographic variation for both perceptions towards climate change and climate-related actions, and, importantly, for the extent of the mismatch between attitudes and actions. For instance, residents in countries like Austria, Spain, and Slovenia have both a relatively high concern about climate change and a high proportion of individuals undertaking mitigation actions. On the other hand, a group of many new EU member countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland display both relatively low level of concern about climate change and low level of mitigation actions. Likewise, the same proportion of individuals from Luxembourg and Bulgaria (73.0%) perceived climate change as a very serious problem but only 30.8% of residents in the latter perform mitigation actions as compared to as many as 79.1% of the former. Understanding what barriers prevent individuals from some countries to take actions despite their climate change concern is therefore crucial for policy interventions. 

Email: muttarak@iiasa.ac.at 

A tale of disaster experience in two countries: Demographic differentials in disaster preparedness in the Philippines and Thailand
Roman Hoffmann,1 Raya Muttarak2; 1Department of Economic Sociology, University of Vienna, 2Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), Vienna Institute of Demography 

Preparing for a disaster by such means as the stockpiling of emergency supplies or having a family evacuation plan can substantially minimize loss and damages from natural hazards. This paper compares disaster preparedness in the Philippines and Thailand, two countries in Southeast Asia with different hazard exposure and welfare policies. The paper explores two research questions: 1) what are the demographic characteristics associated with disaster preparedness?; and 2) what explains differences in disaster preparedness in the two countries? The analysis is based on two data sources. The data for Thailand is obtained from a household survey of three provinces, namely, Ayutthaya, Kalasin and Phang Nga, which are at risk of flood, drought and tsunami respectively (n women=676). The data for the Philippines is based on a survey of 885 women in Manila, a capital city frequently hit by typhoons. We found that disaster preparedness varies significantly by disaster experience, age and education. As expected, individuals previously affected by disaster have a higher likelihood of carrying out preparedness measures. The younger age groups and those with higher education also have higher rates of disaster preparedness. Furthermore, Filipino women undertake disaster preparedness actions more often than Thai women in our sample (63.1% vs. 36.0% respectively). 

Email: muttarak@iiasa.ac.at 

When the well runs dry, when the water gets high: Exploring internal migration due to environmental stress in Americas and Southeast Asia
Guy Abel1, Raya Muttarak1,2, Francesco Vuolo3; 1Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW and WU), Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), 3Institute of Surveying, Remote Sensing and Land Information, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) 

Estimates of the number of “environmental refugees” are often based on a simple assumption that climate change-induced extreme weather events and sea-level rise will lead to mass migration. However, migration is a complex interplay of multiple factors whereby non-climate drivers such as economic opportunities, political conflicts and social networks are equally important in influencing migration decisions. Furthermore, while estimates of climate migrants generally refer to cross-border migration, recent studies have shown that climate-related migration, if at all, is more common within a national boundary. To this end, this paper aims to model internal migration flows taking into account socioeconomic, demographic and environmental drivers. Migration flows and socioeconomic and demographic information are obtained from census microdata for 12 countries in Central and South Americas and 4 countries in Southeast Asia. Additionally, environmental data such as rainfall, temperature, vegetation and water resources obtained from various spatial datasets are included to assess the extent to which climate variability and environmental stress influence migration decisions. By comparing across countries and regions, we also investigate how country-specific context may facilitate or hinder movement within a country. 

Email: guy.abel@oeaw.ac.at 

Population dynamics & human wellbeing in environmentally vulnerable delta regions – Wednesday 8 September – 9.00am 

Session organiser: Sylvia Szabo, University of Southampton 

A geospatial analysis of the impacts of encroaching salinity and shrimp farming on poverty in the ‎ populous Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta Plain of Bangladesh
Fiifi Amoako Johnson1, Craig Hutton2,  Duncan Hornby2, Atilla Lazar3, Anirban Mukhopadhyay4, 1Department of Social Statistics and Demography, Social Sciences Academic Unit, University of Southampton, 2GeoData Institute, Geography Academic unit, University of Southampton, 3Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, 4Jadavpur University, School of Oceanographic Studies 

Salinity intrusion is a major climate and human induced hazard with substantial adverse effects on livelihoods in coastal deltaic regions. The high demand and perceived monetary benefits of shrimp has inspired many farmers to converted farmlands intruded by saline water into shrimp farms, whilst others have actively encourage saline water from marine sources into their farmlands to produce shrimp. However, the environmental impacts raise concerns over sustainability and consequences for poverty including land tenure, livelihood displacements and income loss amongst others. Nonetheless, there has not been any systematic study that examines the associative relationships between salinisation, shrimp farming and poverty. In this study, we use date from the 2011 Bangladesh Population and Housing Census, 2010 LandSat 5TM, 2010 Saline Soils of Bangladesh Survey to examine the extent of geospatial clustering in poverty, and the geospatial associative relationships with levels and intensities of salinisation and shrimp farming in the GBM Delta of Bangladesh. The results show strong clustering of poverty, with the poorest unions being 2.94 times more likely to be neighbours than would be ‎expected under a random spatial pattern. The results also shows that increases in levels and intensities of salinity increases the probability of a union being poor; however both saline and fresh water shrimp farming do not alleviate poverty. Understanding the geospatial patterns in poverty and its geographical relationships with salinisation and shrimp farming is vital for facilitating a decentralised approach to targeted interventions aimed at strengthening poverty reduction and environmental policies and programmes in the delta. 

Email: faj100@soton.ac.uk 

Assessing coastal population development: Results and experiences from a global analysis
Barbara Neumann1, Athanasios T. Vafeidis1, Juliane Zimmermann1 and Robert J. Nicholls2; 1Institute of Geography, Kiel University, 2Faculty of Engineering and the Environment and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Southampton 

People are attracted to coastal zones for a range of reasons, despite prevalent hazards. In many parts of the world, coastal zones experience significantly higher rates of population growth and urbanisation than the hinterland. Along with this comes an increase in assets and infrastructure, leading to a rise in vulnerability of low-lying coastal areas to sea-level rise and coastal hazards. Deltas are particularly vulnerable as they often host large population centres while experiencing additional pressures such as subsidence. In this talk, we present results of a global assessment of population living in low-lying coastal areas for a baseline year (2000) and for different socio-economic and environmental scenarios for the years 2030 and 2060. The scenarios were developed in the context of the UK Government’s Foresight project on Migration and Global Environmental Change. Our assessments include per-country estimates and projections of people living in the low-elevation coastal zone (LECZ); specific analysis of the baseline LECZ population of selected large river deltas; and of people potentially affected by 1-in-100 year storm surge events. The projections are based on four different socio-economic scenarios and include, in the case of the 100-year storm surges, assumptions on global mean sea-level rise. We used scenario-specific correction factors to differentiate coastal from inland growth due to migration and urban from non-urban growth. Our results reveal significant regional differences in terms of exposure and coastal population development. But this first-order assessment also shows the limitations and uncertainties of such global scale analysis and provides scope for further research. 

Email: neumann@geographie.uni-kiel.de 

An ecological approach to address chronic poverty within Patharpratima Block of the Indian Sundarban Delta
Samnath Hazra,Shouvik Das,Sugata Hazra and Tuhin Ghosh; Jadavpur University, Kolkata   

According to the last two Census reports (2001 and 2011) in the Indian part of the GangesBrahmaputraMeghna Delta area the number of people living in chronic poverty has increased. The people of this region often experience breaches of embankments, cyclonic storm surges, with consequent saline water inundation of agriculture fields, which are the dominant livelihood option. The administrative block of Patharpratima, one of the highly vulnerable areas within this delta, has a higher percentage (49.13%) of population 'Below Poverty Line' (BPL) than the State Average (19.98%). The over 15% growth rate of the approximately 0.3 million population of the area has further slowed down the per capita income growth due to resource constraint and degradation of the environment and agricultural land. The characteristics of chronically poor people, however, not only depends on low income but factors like food security, malnutrition, illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water and primary health services, social discrimination and lack of physical security, which also affect their wellbeing. Since all the factors of chronic poverty are active in the delta, poverty, environment and development have a complex relationship in the study area, particularly in the perspective of climate change. This results in further increases in the number of people living with chronic poverty. This study has analysed the chronically poor population, with some heterogeneity in the study area, and identifies drivers of chronic poverty. We also suggest strategic interventions to address the same 

Email: tuhin_ghosh@yahoo.com

The ones we left behind: as study of the demographic effects of environmental change on the forgotten victims of environmental change in coastal Ghana
Tawia Abbam, Fiifi Amoako Johnson, Sabu Padmadas; University of Southampton 

Environmental change (geophysical and hydro-meteorological) is displacing millions of people from rural to urban areas, and rural locations are gradually being emptied of its population. Once thriving towns and villages are experiencing population decline and change; abandonment.  Yet despite a well-known connection between spatial circumstances and socioeconomic well-being, there is a lack of empirically-acquired evidence of changes in the socio-economic vulnerability of sending destinations as a result of environmental change. Little is known about the direct effect of environmental change on the demographic composition of sending locations, such as their population’s size and composition, which thus affects exposure to other hazards (environmental and man-made) and adaptive capacity. This research focuses on the extent to which migration increases or decreases the socio-economic vulnerability of sending locations experiencing environmental change, and the mechanisms and processes via which that change is enacted. The research hypothesises that locations that experience the greatest levels of environmental change (coastal erosion, land-use change) suffer the greatest socio-economic losses and decay of well-being as a result of net outmigration. A conceptual framework, adapted from Sen’s original work on capitals, will direct a methodology of GIS analysis and geospatial statistical analysis to quantify environmental and demographic change and identify the extent of their relationship to one another. Through case studies of areas experiencing different exposures to environmental change, the research will trace how migration varies. 

Email: t.abbam@soton.ac.uk

Predicting poverty from ecosystem service use in deltaic socio-ecological systems Helen Adams, W. Neil Adger, Sate Ahmad, Ali Ahmed, Dilruba Begum, Zoe Matthews, Md. Mofizur Rahman, Peter Kim Streatfield 

Ecosystem services are the benefits humans gain from ecosystem functions and processes. In recent development-driven research this argument has been extended to suggest that ecosystem services can be used to increase wellbeing in natural resource dependent societies. However, much of this research assumes a direct relationship between ecosystem productivity and human wellbeing. In this paper, we extend previous research to take into account micro-level social process that differentiate benefits from ecosystem services and which vary with socio-ecological system.

We ran a multi-level binomial logistic regression model to investigate the relationship between the percentage of income related to ecosystem services, and the probability of being below the poverty line, controlling for other household and individual variables commonly associated with poverty. We then included variables in the model to represent micro-level institutions and household coping strategies: debt and loan use, remittances and sharecropping and the socio-ecological system in which the household is located. To further examine the impact of these variables on the relationship between ecosystem services and poverty we tested a series of interaction terms in the model run.

The results support previous findings that the relationship between levels of dependence on ecosystem services is non-linear but a higher dependence on ecosystem services is more likely to be associated with poverty. This relationship is moderated by land ownership, exposure to shocks, use of remittances and dependence on loans, and the socio-ecological system in which the household is located. These results have implications for the co-management of ecosystem services for conservation and wellbeing objectives.

Email: h.adams@exeter.ac.uk