This paper explores community perspectives of environmental change and the role development actors in the regional Nepali town of Nepalganj. Understanding these perceptions is crucial for planning future adaptation to climate change and ensuring that these measures are sustainable and in line with community priorities. Firstly, I contend that whilst the local community in Nepalganj may be experiencing the impacts of climate change, they are unfamiliar and disassociated with the concept. Secondly, I identify a number of risks and opportunities around the role of local government, international development organisations and local non-government organisations in future adaptation actions. Participant perceptions of these institutions in their community reinforce a number of established critiques of development around themes such as poor consultation and short project timelines. The long-term success of adaptation actions will be shaped by the ability and willingness of development actors to evolve their practices by listening to local communities.