Pino González-Riancho, Birgit Gerkensmeier, Beate M.W. Ratter (2017): Storm surge resilience and the Sendai Framework: Risk perception,  intention to prepare and enhanced collaboration along the German North Sea coast. Ocean & Coastal Management 141 (2017) 118-131. DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2017.03.006


This work assesses the capacity of the German North Sea coast community, which has been hit by several disastrous storm surge events in the past, to organise itself before, during, and after storm surge events in order to minimise the impacts. By means of a survey-based method, we explore stakeholders‘ perception regarding the risk and emergency management processes, the psychological and social factors conditioning the intention to prepare and collaborate, as well as the feasibility of enhanced coordination and collaboration mechanisms at the community level. Acknowledging past and ongoing successful initiatives in the study area, the method allows identifying opportunities to foster preparedness and adaptation, such as an improved risk communication strategy, mainstreaming and integrating risk reduction within and across sectors, and the transition from basic participatory approaches based solely on information provision towards full involvement and collaborative approaches. The major findings of the study represent an initial diagnostic to help meet the guidelines and priorities proposed in the recent Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.

Döring, Martin; Beate Ratter (2017): The Regional Framing of Climate Change: Towards an ‘emplaced’ perspective on regional climate change perception in North Frisia. Journal of Coastal Conservation. DOI:10.1007/s11852-016-0478-0


Numerous studies have begun to tackle the social and cultural dimensions of perceiving and framing climate change. Scholars from geography and environmental psychology in particular have started to highlight the importance of so-called place-based approaches to studying regional and local framings of climate change. This paper stands in this tradition. It reports on findings derived from a nationwide survey of perceptions of and reactions to extreme weather events and interviews conducted with inhabitants of three islands in the coastal region of North Frisia (Germany). Coastal dwellers understand climate change through the lens of local and regional experiences of meteorological phenomena, seasonal changes, knowledge of the sea, and changes in local flora and fauna. Our detailed ecolinguistic analysis revealed six prevailing conceptual metaphors: Climate change is an enemy, preventing climate change is fight/war, climate change is punishment for human sins, climate change is overheating/heat, climate change is hot air/hoax and climate change is eco-dictatorship. These metaphors were used to make sense of climate change at the regional level and provide insights into place-based social and cultural conceptualisations of climate change. An understanding of these meanings should feed into developing more grounded climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in coastal regions.

Corinna de Guttry, Martin Döring, Beate Ratter (2017). How distant is climate change? Construal Level Theory analysis of German and Taiwanese students´ statements. International Journal of Asian Social Science, Vol. 7, No. 5, 434-447. DOI: 10.18488/journal.1.2017.75.434.447


The usefulness of Construal Level Theory to understand how people mentally represent climate change has been recognized by a number of authors in recent years. Yet, empirical studies that analyse both psychological distance and construal levels of climate change are still rare. We fill this gap by investigating the perceived geographical, temporal and social dimensions of climate change and by analyzing the construal levels employed by the participants of our research. Participants comprise two groups of university students (in Taiwan and in Germany) that carried out a 10 Statements Test on climate change. Results suggest that climate change is still perceived as distant. Nevertheless, we identified differences between the two groups in the construal levels employed. We reflect on the role of culture in the choice of different construal, on the potentials of Construal Level Theory to systematically analyse individuals? understandings of climate change and we illustrate the implications of our results for future climate communication strategies.

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