What role does climate change play in our everyday lives? This was the question I wasked myself and which lead to a year-long research project.
Norway is a country were most of us experience the economic and social security to consider climate change and climate measures in our daily lives. We have free access to information and generally have a good amount of knowledge on the topic. Much has been written about politicians' and researchers' stands on the topic. Much research has also been dedicated to those who are most severly impacted by the changes that are already happening. But what about those inbetween? What about the growing group of urban inhabitants that work and study and go about their lives, well aware of the fact that the world around them is changing?
"Understanding climate change: Dealing, sense-making and building on non-experience" become the title of this project. By working with young adults in Oslo during a month of field research I got some of my questions answered.
The results show how specific local norms and values impact the decisions we make and do not make with regards to climate change. Furthermore I uncovered how emotions play a central role in how we understand the changes and how social media is creating a completely unique situation in today's media landscape. Through the analysis I discovered different strategies that people use to understand and relate to the abstract issue of a changing climate and to cope with the tremendous moral and emotional pressure it puts on individuals.
The project marries cultural frameworks on a system level to individual experiences and actions on a micro level, and underlines the important interactions between societal scales. Climate is a complicated field. My analysis presents part of what is most vital to this field in the particular norwegian setting, and in the particular context of Oslo. The results stress the importance of including human factors in this challenge that may seem to be foremost technical.
This project gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in climate and enviromental issues in Oslo, to further develop my research skills, and put focus on topics that definitely ought to be on the agenda. The research was turned into a master thesis. If you are interested you can find the original thesis (in english!) below.