The Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam is one of the most at risk places globally to the effects of climate change and sea level rise, specifically in terms of flooding. It is predicted to change drastically over the next 100 years, with additional human-driven actions (such as sand mining and groundwater extraction) expected to exasperate the speed and severity of said change. Understanding the existing perceptions of those that will face these future challenges, and what contributes to forming those perceptions, is a critical underpinning required for the success of any future resilience and mitigation initiatives. A holistic view that takes account of these varying influences on societal perceptions, resilience and education needs to be taken.
One of the most vulnerable groups to the consequences of climate change, and indeed the citizens that will go on to tackle the majority of challenges we are predicted to face in the future, is children. For this reason alone, ascertaining their perceptions and understandings, along with the influences and sources that shape their views, is paramount.
This paper will present the findings from a project that explored local children’s perceptions of climate change in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Creative and arts-based methods enabled children’s voices to be heard. Combined with further policy analysis and interviews with parents, teachers and government officials, these voices have been further contextualised within their socio-cultural context and environment. Through developing an understanding of these perceptions and the influencing factors, a more effective and holistic approach to shaping children’s climate change resilience can be executed, which will ultimately enhance a society’s ability to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change into the future.
Halstead, F., Parsons, D., Jones, L., & Hackney, C. (2020, May). I'll be dead by the time it happens: Children's Perceptions of Climate Change in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Paper presented at EGU General Assembly 2020 (European Geosciences Union), Sharing Geoscience Online