A Model to Integrate University Education Within Cultural Traditions for Climate Change Resilience

  • Keith MorrisonEmail author
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


A community-based learning-system model is outlined. The model has been constructed to frame university education and research as interacting with cultural traditions, so as to understand how to better use university education to enhance climate change adaptation within the South Pacific region. The model features the learning systems involved, including the functions and purpose of the components of the learning systems. The function and purpose of education and research in the context of climate change adaptation is shown to be the critical development of innovations, so as to enhance resilience through maintaining and gaining flexibility within social-ecological systems. The adaptations can be technological or institutional, including policy development, development of institutional arrangements, and development of cultural traditions. But because of the relevance of cultural traditions to the communities of the South Pacific region, the model focuses on adaptations that involve cultural traditions interacting with education that universities can provide. The role of cultural traditions of the South Pacific region for climate change adaptation is shown to be important, and even of global significance, because South Pacific nations are at the forefront of climate change adaptation. Living, and hence developing, cultural traditions provide high adaptive capacity through facilitating the questioning of the goals and assumptions of development processes. In particular they facilitate clarification of what is of highest importance and in needing of being maintained with the highest priority. This enables non-traumatic and hence civil adaptation to climate change to proceed, through maintaining what is most valuable, so as to avoid the arising of trauma; with adaptation only changing what is of lesser importance. Flexibility is maintained by having multiple non-traumatic options to choose from. The model explores how clarification of what is of highest importance enables the ‘letting-go’ of fixation on any particular views of development; views of development that may not actually be those of the communities. The model also clarifies how letting go of ideological fixations about development goals frees up greater sensitivity to what is essential for civil society, which is care and concern for the well-being of others and the natural environment. Simultaneously the model outlines how the South Pacific region’s cultural traditions provide a resilient self-reinforcing system of civil adaptation to climate change. Finally the model explores what is essential for a university pedagogy to contribute to the resilience of climate change adaptation by the South Pacific region’s communities.


Pedagogy Climate change Resilience Cultural tradition University 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainable Community Development Research InstituteChristchurchNew Zealand

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