Farmers and perverse outcomes: The quest for food and energy security, emissions reduction and climate adaptation

Beilin, R. and Sysak, T. and Hill , S. (2012) Farmers and perverse outcomes: The quest for food and energy security, emissions reduction and climate adaptation. Global Environmental Change, 22 (2). pp. 463-471.

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Victorian farmers have experienced significant impact from climate change associated with drought and more recently flooding. These factors form a convergence with a complex of other factors to change production systems physically; and farmers’ decision making is variously described as adaptive or maladaptive to these drivers of change. Recently updated State Government policies on farming, climate and water have immediate and long term implications for food production systems but are not readily interpreted at a local scale. Further, peak oil and energy security are only partially integrated into either climate or water policy discourse. In effect, despite some far-sighted words about the meaning of climate change, uncertainty is largely met with a ‘business as usual’ mantra. Farmer narratives are used to demonstrate their systemic and increasing vulnerability and likelihood of perverse outcomes. The Future Farming strategy and Our Water Our Future are briefly analyzed, as are potential implications of the rhetoric of newly elected conservative government. Using ideas from Bourdieu and Bhabha we suggest that the reliance on farmers being able to innovate and take up opportunities associated with the uncertainty of large scale changes in climate and energy availability are misguided. It is more likely that current policy directions entrench the values of the global market and its elite, leaving farmers locked-in to historical structural responses that will not be successful in the long-term and will diminish their ability to imagine radical and diverse ways of avoiding the maladaptive structures currently surrounding their production systems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Policy analysis, Maladaptation, Innovation, Water, Climate change, Peak oil
Author Affiliation: Department of Resource Management and Geography, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Australia
Subjects: Atmosperic Science > Climatology
Postharvest Management > Food Technology
Environmental Science > Ecology
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Arbind Seth
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2013 14:11
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2013 14:11
Official URL:

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