Climate Change and Identity

Maxine van Bommel

Although climate change is expected to have a profound impact our lives, it is often regarded as a scientific or economic challenge. However, there is a great need to consider the impact of climate change on other areas of life.

About the study

Recent research has shown that climate change impacts on our individual identities, but quite how is not well understood yet.

This study explores how women feel about climate change and how climate change impacts on their identities. Maxine is interested in the difficult emotions women experience in relation to climate change. Due to the gendered nature of identities and because women tend to have different emotional experiences than men, the research focuses on women only.

Who is running the study?

This study is being run by Maxine van Bommel, a doctoral student at Anglia Ruskin University. Maxine has been interested in climate change issues ever since completing a master’s thesis on climate refugees and human rights ten years ago. Since then, her interest in sustainability has remained a constant, often faced with the same questions: How does climate change impact on our lives, emotions and identities? And how can we learn to cope with the threat of climate change?

Who is being invited to participate?

We are looking for 15 adults (18+) who identify as being women. Considering the topic of research, women who have some affinity with climate change and/or may have experienced or are currently experiencing some difficult emotions in relation to climate change are invited to participate.

What will you be doing?

Participants will be invited to take part in three interviews with Maxine, each lasting up to two hours. Each interview will be slightly different. The first two interviews will primarily involve being asked to share information about your life and experiences. After the second interview, you will be asked to take a number of photos, which will be talked about in the third and final interview. You may on occasion be contacted in between the interviews by email and/or telephone for any further information.

The interviews aim to create a space for participants to share their experiences and explore how they feel about climate change. The combination of narrative and creative techniques that will be used are designed to invoke a deeper understanding of the experiences, embedded in a participant's life story.

The interviews will be taking place in person and/or online depending on preference and personal circumstances, as well as Anglia Ruskin University’s Covid-19 guidance.

For further details, please email Maxine van Bommel: mv359@pgr.aru.ac.uk.