CC-VISAGES in Canada (2015-2016)
Perceptions of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities in Nanaimo
Basic project information
The project is located at the Environmental Justice Institute. It is also associated with the Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) of the Freie Universität Berlin / Germany and connected to the University of British Columbia.
Please click here to download the project summary.
Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) - "Strategic University Alliance for Sustainability" program of Freie Universität; Berlin and University of British Columbia 2015-2016
Globally, there is an unequal distribution of climate change impacts and vulnerability to climate change. However it is unlikely that the distribution of the benefits and burdens will be based on climate alone. It is well-documented that the distribution of climate change benefits and burdens on human populations are also influenced by underlying social, environmental and economic realities (Samson et al. 2011, Martins et al. 2010, U.S. Global Change Research Program 2011). Adaptation measures are put in place to reduce these vulnerabilities and build resilience. To develop successful adaptation policies it is important to understand both at the macro and micro level, a community's climate vulnerabilities and perceptions of vulnerability.
Individuals define vulnerability based on several personal and collective frames. Perceived insecurity from experienced or anticipated impacts associated with climate change will likely arise from a combination of external definitions from "experts" and internal definitions derived from psychological, social, moral, institutional and cultural processes. It will also depend on multiple social, economic and political elements, which may occur scales and speeds and which will produce very different outcomes in different communities (O'Brien and Leichenko 2010; O'Brien et al. 2004). Focusing on deepening the understanding of perceptions of climate change and vulnerability is critical to the development of inclusive models for adaptation. As such, this study aims to determine the range of perceptions in regard to climate change across the city policy network in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Nanaimo was chosen based on the Climatological Environmental Justice Index (CEJI) and its classification as the third most vulnerable community in Canada according to the German Canadian FFU research collaboration "CC-Visage". The CEJI variables are based on the Climate Stress Index (CSI) and the Human Stress Index (HIS).
Based on small scale representations of GIS data in Nanaimo the qualitative survey data will be obtained at the community level in Nanaimo. This will then be analysed with qualitative-quantitative methods, namely through factor analysed guideline interviews (Miles and Haberman 1994). The range of perspectives on the given topic will be sorted and the possibility of consensus will be revealed using the Q Oracle (Kaufmann 2012). Final findings will then be included in the above named GIS representations to create a public participation geographic information system map (Gosine, Teelucksingh, 2008).
Finally, a fuller picture of coherence between policy approaches to climate change adaptation and community-level policy perceptions of climate change vulnerability at the grassroots level will be identified. The research will demonstrate the consensus or lack thereof regarding climate adaptation policies and the perceived vulnerabilities to climate change impacts in Nanaimo. The final result will take the form of a 60 page master's thesis to be completed by the summer 2016.
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