Jooste, Brechtje S., Jon-Vegard Dokken, Dewald Van Niekerk, & Ruth A. Loubser (2018). Challenges to belief systems in the context of climate change adaptation. Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies, 10. (ePub in advance of print) (Link:

Abstract: This article focuses on the social aspects of climate change and explores the interrelationship between belief systems and adaptation. The links and interaction between external and internal realities are examined from the perspective of contextual vulnerability, with a focus on the multifaceted structure of belief systems. The aim was to determine those challenges regarding climate change adaptation that are caused by a community’s belief system and to make recommendations to overcome them. Diverse perceptions of climate change and beliefs from three townships in the North-West Province of South Africa were collected and analysed using Q-methodology, finding five distinct worldview narratives. These narratives were named naturalist collectivist, religious, religious determinist, activist collectivist and structural thinker. It is recommended that policymakers aim to address diverse views and should be informed by factors that increase resistance to belief revision. Information should be framed in ways that foster the perception of internal control, are clearly evidence based and encourage a desire to learn more.

Ruth A Loubser <> is in the School of Philosophy, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.