Vulnerability and Climate Change Perceptions: A Case Study in Brazilian Biomes

  •  Teresa Silva-Rosa    
  •  Michelle Michelle Bonatti    
  •  Andrea Vanini    
  •  Catia Zuffo    


Based on the assumption that vulnerability is socially constructed, and may thus change according to transformations in human action, it appears necessary to consider the issue at the core of studies on the social aspects of Climate Change (CC), risk level and disaster prevention. The social nature of vulnerability is determined by elements such as poverty, inequality, exclusion and access to sanitation, water, food and education among other factors.

In 2010, a study was undertaken in the ambit of the project “Climate Change, Social Inequalities and Vulnerable Populations” about the perception of and an assessment of vulnerability. Information was gathered through interviews using structured questionnaires administered in communities in three Brazilian biomes: the Atlantic Forest, the Amazon and the Semi-Arid and Cerrado region. This paper discusses the result of three case studies: one in Rondonia in the Amazon, and two in the Atlantic Forest biome, one in Rio de Janeiro and another in Santa Catarina.

Two points in common among the communities should be highlighted. (1) None of the communities have plans or actions to adapt to natural climate variability, much less to CC. This makes the communities more vulnerable and unprepared to act with protective or reactive preventive measures. (2) Thus, it is important to develop a plan with actions that address the situation of “organized irresponsibility”, understood as a network of mechanisms that treat environmental problems as normal, or regard them as being of governmental responsibility alone.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.