There are calls for better empirical models to inform climate change adaptation in smallholder agriculture. Hitherto adaptation studies have failed to comprehensively integrate non-cognitive behavioural factors (e.g. psychological capital), and there is also no common framework for measuring non-cognitive abilities of smallholder farmers. Hence, this study is the first attempt to assess how psychological capital affects climate change adaptation amongst smallholder farmers. The study estimated the multivariate probit regression model using data collected from 328 smallholder farmers in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. The results show an association between some psychological capital indicators and smallholder adaptation decisions. Social networks, having multiple farming objectives, access to credit and the type of farmer (irrigators vs. non-irrigators) were also significant in determining smallholders’ adaptation decisions. In conclusion, the study recommends the need for practical ways for enhancing smallholders’ endowment with key non-cognitive abilities. There is also a need for researchers to develop a comprehensive framework for assessing non-cognitive factors critical for climate change adaptation. This will improve the use of positive psychology theories to advance the literature on climate change adaptation. Support should also be provided to communities facing higher risks of climate change adaptation. More focus should also be given to improve smallholder farmers’ ability to adapt, including access to affordable credit. The role of social networks in information sharing remains critical, and hence their promotion should be prioritised. The findings on multiple objectives in farming were unique to climate change adaptation research, and hence the indicator should be considered in future similar studies.
OBJECTIVES. Despite our focus on adaptation and human responses to climate, evolutionary and biological anthropologists (EBAs) are largely absent from conversations about contemporary “climate-change adaptation,” a term popular in other disciplines, the development world, and related policy decisions. EBAs are missing a big opportunity to contribute to impactful, time-sensitive applied work: we have extensive theoretical and empirical knowledge pertinent to conversations about climate-change adaptation and to helping support communities as they cope. This special issue takes a tour of EBA contributions to our understanding of climate-change adaptation, from data on past and contemporary human communities to theoretically informed predictions about how individuals and communities will respond to climate change now and in the future. First, however, we must establish what we mean by “climate change” and “adaptation,” along with other terms commonly used by EBAs; review what EBAs know about adaptation and about human responses to climate change; and identify just a few topics EBAs study that are pertinent to ongoing conversations about climate-change adaptation. In this article, we do just that. CONCLUSION. From our work on energy use to our work on demography, subsistence, social networks, and the salience of climate change to local communities, EBAs have an abundance of data and theoretical insights to help inform responses to contemporary climate change. We need to better reach the climate community and general public with our contributions.
This study sheds light on the effects of community resilience and risk appraisal on climate change adaptation behaviour within the context of the resettlement site of Kannagi Nagar in Chennai, India. The residents of Kannagi Nagar, built on flood-prone marshlands, are exposed to the risks of flooding and water scarcity. Data were collected at the household level through a questionnaire and interviews to investigate activities contributing to community resilience, their interrelatedness, and the influence of community resilience and risk appraisal on household adaptation behaviour. Findings show that community resilience – assessed using the five core dimensions of trust, place attachment, collective efficacy, social networks and social support – significantly and positively influences adaptation actions. This implies that only when the inhabitants of Kannagi Nagar are supported by their social networks and have confidence in their community’s capabilities, can greater risk awareness increase the number of adaptation measures taken.