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Pacific climate change adaptation: The use of participatory media to promote indigenous knowledge

Volume 23, Issue 1

July, 2017

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Inamara, A., & Thomas, V. (2017). Pacific climate change adaptation: The use of participatory media to promote indigenous knowledge. Pacific Journalism Review, 23(1), 113-132. doi:10.24135/pjr.v23i1.210
Author(s): Aaron Inamara, Verena Thomas
Publication date: 
July, 2017

Pacific Island communities are increasingly experiencing the impacts of climate change. Inaccessibility to relevant information about contemporary climate change adaptation strategies at the community level presents challenges. At the same time, indigenous strategies to adapt to climate changes have been overlooked in both local and global climate change debates. This article discusses a project undertaken with a community on Andra Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies were explored through photo essays developed by community members, engaging in approaches of visual participatory action research and indigenous research approaches. The collaboration with the Andra Island community created a space for reflective dialogue about challenges posed by climate change as well as how photo essays can be used to promote Indigenous Knowledge (IK) as a viable capital for community-based adaptation (CBA). Within this context, this article demonstrates how climate change is both a natural and cultural process of change which poses socio-economic challenges. These challenges can compel people to engage in unsustainable practices that might exacerbate natural climate change impacts. The article highlights that building community capacity in participatory media can be an important tool to forge collective synergy, dialogue and ownership in local climate change initiatives. In particular, the authors demonstrate how participatory media can be harnessed to integrate indigenous knowledge in community-based climate change adaptation.