Links between media communication and local perceptions of climate change in an indigenous society

Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, María Elena Méndez-López, Isabel Díaz-Reviriego, Marissa F. McBride, Aili Pyhälä, Antoni Rosell-Melé, Victoria Reyes-García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Indigenous societies hold a great deal of ethnoclimatological knowledge that could potentially be of key importance for both climate change science and local adaptation; yet, we lack studies examining how such knowledge might be shaped by media communication. This study systematically investigates the interplay between local observations of climate change and the reception of media information amongst the Tsimane’, an indigenous society of Bolivian Amazonia where the scientific discourse of anthropogenic climate change has barely reached. Specifically, we conducted a Randomized Evaluation with a sample of 424 household heads in 12 villages to test to what degree local accounts of climate change are influenced by externally influenced awareness. We randomly assigned villages to a treatment and control group, conducted workshops on climate change with villages in the treatment group, and evaluated the effects of information dissemination on individual climate change perceptions. Results of this work suggest that providing climate change information through participatory workshops does not noticeably influence individual perceptions of climate change. Such findings stress the challenges involved in translating between local and scientific framings of climate change, and gives cause for concern about how to integrate indigenous peoples and local knowledge with global climate change policy debates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-320
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


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