Experiencing and Adapting to Heatwaves: A Study of Bangladesh-Born Migrants in Victoria
AffiliationResource Management and Geography
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2022-12-16.
© 2020 Dilruba Khanam
Climate change is a critical concern in Australia and globally. Anthropogenic climate change will contribute to increasing intensity and frequency of heatwaves. People view and respond to heatwaves in many ways, depending on their awareness, expertise, access to resources and geographic location. Previous experience of climate extremes is a critical factor in shaping how people perceive risks and adapt to reduce the impacts on their lives and livelihoods. In the past decades, many studies have focused on heatwaves, heat-health impacts including mortality and morbidity, and heatwave adaptation and mitigation. However, limited research reflects on culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations and migrants in relation to heatwave experiences and adaptation. Advancing understanding of the impacts of heatwaves on migrants' lives, and the significance of their cultural beliefs and past experience of heatwaves, can provide insight into heatwave adaptation. In particular, migrant communities with heatwave experience may have potential to respond effectively to heatwave events at the resettlement site. This study aims to understand the experience of heatwaves among members of a migrant community in a site of settlement, namely Bangladesh-born migrants in Victoria. It investigates risk perception around heatwaves, the impact of heatwaves on daily lives, and coping techniques used by this cultural community. Considering the diverse cultural background and experiences of the participants, this study also examines whether and how their environmental knowledge, cultural beliefs and previous adaptation experience influence their ability to adapt to heatwaves in Victoria. In addition, this study discusses some of the major challenges confronting this population in applying heatwave adaptation strategies. A mixed-methods approach comprising both qualitative and quantitative research was used to conduct this study. The data collection instruments consisted of a semi-structured interview protocol and a survey questionnaire. One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants, who were purposively chosen from five Local Government Areas (LGAs). The survey data (n=393) were collected from five LGAs in Victoria using a three-stage cluster sampling technique. A four-part survey questionnaire involving Heatwave Risk Perception, Heatwave Adaptation Strategies, Cultural Beliefs towards Heatwave Adaptation and Barriers towards Heatwave Adaptation was developed to assess the experience of participants. The 33 item Heatwave Adaptation Strategies measure was used to identify heatwave adaptation techniques used by participants; participants were asked to respond to these 33 items both in relation to adaptation measures used previously in Bangladesh, and currently in Victoria. The questionnaire used a six-point Likert type scale for recording participants' self-reported responses. Quantitative data were processed and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 26. A descriptive analysis (mean and standard deviation) was undertaken to report the overall results, while advanced inferential statistics (i.e. t-tests & multiple regressions) was used to identify several predictor variables and their association with each other. The findings of the study are presented in chapters four and five. In chapter four, the analysis of the interviews yields the Bangladesh-born Victorian migrants' own explanation on their understanding of heatwaves, their risks to everyday life, and a range of challenges and adaptation measures to cope with this climate extreme based on their current and previous heatwave experience. The semi-structured interview protocol was developed to gain an in-depth understanding of participants' pre- and post-migration heatwave experiences and challenges. A hybrid method of thematic analysis, comprising both inductive and deductive approaches, was used to analyse interview data. The quantitative results are presented in chapter five. The results show the extent to which the participants perceived heatwave risks, their use of adaptation strategies, cultural beliefs, and barriers towards heatwave adaptation. For instance, this migrant community perceived a high frequency of heatwave risk (M=4.60, SD=1.22). The stepwise multiple linear regression results also demonstrate the significant predictors of heatwave adaptation strategies (HAS) in Victoria. Both qualitative and quantitative findings suggest that lack of access to information about heatwaves and their consequences is one of the major challenges for participants in adapting to heatwaves in Victoria. In addition, both qualitative and quantitative findings add nuance to understanding migrants and their adaptive capacities in coping with climate extremes in the host country. The study may provide useful insights for relevant planning organisations and government officials engaging in climate change adaptation planning and striving to reduce the negative impacts of heatwaves across all members of the community.
KeywordsHeatwaves, heatwave adaptation, migration, cultural diversity, heatwave risk perception, addressing cultural diversity in heatwave adaptation, heatwaves in Australia, experience of heatwaves in Australia, climate extremes, climate change adaption
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