Current Information Provision Rarely Helps Coastal Households Adapt to Climate Change

Carmen E. Elrick-Barr, Timothy F. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Households play an important role in reducing coastal vulnerability through individual and collective action. Information provision is a key strategy adopted by governments to support household adaptation. However, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of the different types of information and their influence on coastal household response. Drawing on case study research in two Australian coastal communities, we explore the types of information shaping household responses to three hazard scenarios: a heatwave, a severe storm, and sea-level rise. We find that passive information informs action in fewer than half of all households. Furthermore, even current attempts at more action-oriented information only informs coping strategies. If coastal adaptation is to achieve the transformational changes vital to manage the impacts of climate change, information provision must transition from passive and generic delivery via traditional modes, to actively communicating adaptation as the ‘glue’ between hazard management and household resilience through context-relevant and household-driven communication modes. Further research into the types of information that promote more-than-coping responses, such as information to facilitate collective action, is also recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2904
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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