Reflections: Community Input on Technical Questions

Engagement on climate adaptation is a process that asks us to reckon with the western science of climate modeling and projections, alongside the complexity of human values, choices and priorities, and the traditional ecological knowledge* of the Indigenous peoples on whose land the process is located. Within this context, we might ask ourselves what aspects of the adaptation process are most appropriate and relevant for engagement, with whom to engage on these different aspects, and how to do so in psychologically supportive ways?

Reid et al. (2014) outline a values-focused approach, that offers one way to approach these questions, using a series of steps, all grounded in “what matters most” to the community. The authors point out that, “community members are experts in their values” (p. 403) and that these can be used to guide technical decisions such as:(1) what climate change impacts are seen as most impactful to the community, (2) which adaptation actions best meet the needs of the community, (3) which actions have the highest community buy-in, and (4) which actions are realistic given the community’s constraints” (p. 403). These values can then also be used as a “framework for long-term monitoring and evaluation” (Reid et al., p. 403).

 In addition, some of the practices in the modules on the psychology of climate change and strategic communications suggest ways to frame questions around adaptation that ground the topic in lived experience, focus on core values, build community and acknowledge painful realities in supportive processes that can help to reorient engagement from a technical exercise into a process for creating safety, connection and authentic action.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Strategic Dialogue and Engagement for Climate Adaptation Copyright © by Simon Fraser University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book