As part of the Global Engagement Network at Penn State, a team of faculty at Penn State partners with faculty members from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The project focuses on building knowledge and understanding of gendered differences in the reslience of smallholder farmers in the face of climate and environmental change.

Project Name: Transformative Resilience in the Context of Climate Change in the United States and Australia

Principal Investigator and Co-PIs: Paige Castellanos, Elizabeth Ransom, Ann Tickamyer, Carolyn Sachs, Heather Randell

Partner Country and Collaborators: Monash University, Australia

Funding Source: Global Engagement Network (Penn State) and Monash University

Project Description:

Climate-related weather events and environmental change will have gender differentiated consequences for physical and mental health of rural communities and farmers in the coming years. As global providers of major foodstuffs (e.g. beef, wheat, dairy and dairy products), Australia and United States' farmers and farm communities will be impacted not only economically, but also physically and emotionally, by climate-related weather. With such large-scale environmental disruption, there is growing awareness of ecological grief, whereby people that retain working relationships to natural environments are more likely to experience grief from ecological losses, such as loss of ecosystems and livestock due to acute or chronic environmental change (Cunsolo and Ellis 2018). Because of men and women's differing positions, roles, and responsibilities within rural communities, gender plays an important role in individual's experiences with climate change and adaption (Alston 2013; McKune et al. 2015). While male farmer suicides are a recognized problem in rural communities in both countries, “there has been almost no research on how climate change affects men" or how climate change adaptation projects align with masculine values and identities (Gonda 2017, 69). Similarly, there is a significant empirical gap in the literature on women farmers' experiences of and responses to climate change in the U.S. and Australia. Our research focuses on how socio-economic, political, and cultural dynamics shape men and women's responses to climate-related weather events and environmental change in farming communities.

Framework & Research Questions: The project is framed by three domains of enquiry.
1. Climate change attitudes, adaption, and resilience
2. Availability of human and animal health services
3. Agricultural and gender-sensitive policies to assist in resilience

Different team members will work within these domains to answer a wide-range of research questions, including: What are the gendered impacts of climate change in farming communities? What are men and women's roles in climate change adaptation and mitigation? Do women and men have the same opportunities and access to resources to undertake adaptation and mitigation practices? Ultimately, how can agricultural communities and individuals participate in transformative resilience? Transformative resilience involves the building of institutions and actions that support long-term flexibility, equitable and sustainable development (Pelling 2011), and “the empowerment of women and girls are critical to achieving transformative adaptive change" (Alston 2013, 354). Applying a gender analysis to these three domains of enquiry has great potential to contribute to resilience.

Research Plan: Our multidisciplinary team will engage in quantitative and qualitative preliminary research. Specifically, we will develop a survey that seeks to measure attitudes towards climate change and perceived availability of health services among men and women farmers and other rural community members (see Project context). ClimateWorks will provide strategic insights on survey construction from the Land Use Futures project and its agricultural sector networks. A qualitative interview schedule will explore adaption and resilience, focusing on perceived hinderances and opportunities for adaption among men and women. Once these instruments are developed, they will be piloted in two rural communities (one in each country), with analysis of the survey results and qualitative interviews. Finally, a content analysis of existing agricultural and gender-sensitive polices will be conducted, concluding with an assessment of the types of policies that are not in place, but could assist in future transformative resilience programs.

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802