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Reframing Engagement Methods for Climate Change Adaptation

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Abstract:

Climate change poses known and unknown risks for coastal communities and also challenges for university faculty and local government staff who communicate about cli- mate sciences. Conceived as a way to move beyond traditional models of science communication, this project involved public and private decision makers in specific at-risk communities in Oregon (U.S. Pacific coast) and Maine (Atlantic coast). Both state projects sought to move behavior toward decisive action that results in coastal communities that are more resilient to climate variability at all scales. To promote engagement between project staffs and publics, a dialogic model of communication was advanced, beginning with interviews and focus groups that in turn shaped further engagement through workshops and targeted video products. This means of communication led to a deeper understanding of participants’ knowledge, beliefs, perceptions, values, and barriers to action related to climate change and its effects. Coinciding with this, project participant evaluations in both Oregon and Maine indicate that the workshops and videos were successful at informing them on this complex issue; and in both states, project participation led to action outcomes. We believe that applied elsewhere our multifaceted and adaptive approach will garner similar results, provided sufficient dedicated staffing and attention to methods.

Keywords: adaptation; climate change; dialogic engagement; mental models; science communication

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2013.803926

Affiliations: 1: Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA 2: University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Orono, Maine, USA 3: Center for Research and Evaluation, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA

Publication date: 2013-07-04

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