As you will observe while flipping through this web-book, the ALN project spent significant effort communicating information about the ALN courses which are designed for working professionals and offered through several BC universities. The team advanced several examples of testing use-cases of the Climate Adaptation Competency Framework to open new doors for organizations evaluating their internal capabilities and skills gaps on climate adaptation; and we posted, re-tweeted and shared news-and-views on climate adaptation (yes, plenty of floods, fires and heat dome commiseration). We used social media, newsletters, webinars, and podcasts, plus our Project Advisory, which included leaders from several professional associations, who helped amplify climate adaptation capacity-building information through their own organizations. It has been a “multi-channel approach” for building a network of shared trans-disciplinary and trans-sectoral interests and actions.
We developed “followers”.
But what does this actually mean? How do change-makers shift, from spreading information to “inspiring climate action” and having metrics to back this up?
Dr Johanna Nalau, an accomplished climate adaptation social scientist at Griffiths University in Australia, wrote a review of Damon Centola’s book Change: How to Make Big Things Happen. Nalau asks “what kind of networks are needed for climate adaptation change to spread, and how do we recognise we are onto something?” Centola talks about how to spur rapid sudden change at mass scales. “Firework networks” (retweeting) versus “fishing net” networks that create social accountability and are not reliant on one key person but a network of interactions.
If we had a few more years of runway for the ALN project, we would create a “fishing net” network of significant proportions. The early stage is already underway, having invested in building deep connections with many people over the past three years, far beyond retweets on social media. We are honoured to know and work with so many who are listed on the Acknowledgements page in this web-book, which will continue to be a community of change-maker colleagues and friends.
Here are some “building-and-sustaining networks” we achieved, relationships which hint at where we might go next, thanks to this early stage of developing “fishing net” networks.
Building Networks – for applied research on activating Adaptation Futures
- Dr. Liese Coulter is an example of someone who bubbled up through ALN connections, and she is now working with Royal Roads University, on a post-doc project focused on Natural Asset Management with MNAI.Liese did her doctoral research on how we adapt to climate change through a study which considered the ways that personal narratives reflect climate change knowledge to influence adaptation decisions. Her work reveals that talking about scientific climate knowledge and adaptation practices is fundamentally informed by personal factors which influence the incorporation of climate change knowledge in adaptation decisions. Professionals who work with climate knowledge were interviewed regarding their personal discussions and planning that was focused on adaptation to climate change. The analysis concentrated on participants’ relative attention to future thinking, climate knowledge, and narrative communication. Despite the fact that these people were professionals, already applying climate knowledge, the majority of participants found it challenging to imagine future societies situated in future climates, especially people who did not consider themselves at risk, or who found it difficult to discuss projected climate change impacts as if they are personally relevant. This indicates that personal differences such as subjective assessments of climate risk and adaptive capacity, as well as engagement in future thinking, affect climate adaptation decision-making that may impact the wider society over time. Based on interviews with Canadians and Australians in research, policy, and practice, who work with climate change knowledge everyday, Liese’s study found that sharing our thoughts was vital in preparing to adapt. By talking to people who already know so much about climate change, her study found that climate knowledge did not actually influence how people talked to their friends and family, or even how they imagined their own future. But people who reflected climate knowledge in how they talked about their imagined future were already adapting. They actively changed how they educate their children, plan their retirement, select their investments and choose where to live. However, they could make such changes because they shared those climate-informed thoughts in family discussions. Liese’s work provides evidence that when we talk with friends and family about the world-to-come, we can develop shared imaginings of a future so unlike our past.
Coulter, L., Serrao-Neumann, S., & Coiacetto, E. (2019). Climate change adaptation narratives: Linking climate knowledge and future thinking. Futures, 111, 57-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2019.05.004
Building Networks – for co-operative business ventures
Al Douglas and Erik Sparling at Climate Risk Institute (CRI) who also were part of the NRCan BRACE community, worked closely with the Resilience By Design Lab (RbD)and the ALN team, and together we have been building a suite of climate adaptation courses and communities of practice, by sharing technologies and marketing approaches to achieve shared purpose. The RbD and CRI are in the planning stages of finding ways-and-means, together, to carry on the work we have started through NRCan BRACE and we call this the CanADAPT initiative.
Building Networks – for offering pan-Canadian Climate Action Microcredentials
Continuation in the work we have begun in developing education and training on climate action, we are advocates for using new approaches to deliver high-quality rapid upskilling. Another valuable “fishing net” network advantage was bringing Dr. David Porter into the project to guide a national approach for labour market upskilling and mobility through climate action micro-credentials. This strategy for rapid upskilling is intended to provide Canadians with the competencies to live and work with resilience, in a society in a state of economic and energy transition, with the inevitable challenges of dealing with accelerating climate impacts.