Enabling environmentally focused community groups responding to climate change

Practices of co-governance in developing and implementing policy in complex and dynamic settings

Rachel Tumminello, Douglas Paton, Petra Buergelt

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstract


The overwhelming evidence of impacts from fossil fuel emissions, practices of natural resource exploitation and urban development present a devastating picture of dynamic intertwined social-ecological disasters. We are ill prepared to address the complexity of issues that span the gauntlet of access to basic resources and the social, economic and cultural systems people rely on for health and wellbeing. In a rapidly changing world social policies need to bridge diverse portfolios in holistic, participatory and decentralized ways to create real transformation. People volunteering in community groups play a significant role in creating social change. Yet, while recognised as ‘stakeholders’, effectively supporting participation and the ‘work’ of people in environmentally focused community groups, is inhibited by outdated concepts and top down processes. Findings from a PhD research project on civic participation and community collaboration in responding to climate change highlight the diverse challenges community groups face. Researching people in community groups is largely siloed by labels of volunteer, advocate, activist, public engagement, social movements and segregated by domains such as conservation, NRM, community, waste management. Spanning different groups in a North Australian urban setting, this research explored a spectrum of civic participation and activity foci. Using a robust qualitative research design the aim was to uncover how power relations inform understandings of, and actions within, the psycho-social-ecological systems and governance settings of community led environmental volunteer groups. Insights for making sense of local contexts and practices of co-governance in developing and implementing policy will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian Social Policy Conference 2019 - University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 9 Sep 201911 Sep 2019


ConferenceAustralian Social Policy Conference 2019


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